Diverse reaction to coal strategy

The Greens’ plan to move away from coal-fired power and make Collie 100 per cent renewables by 2030 has been met with mixed reactions from key stakeholders within the community. 

Members of the Greens party visited Collie last Wednesday to launch their plan for Collie and present their ideas to the Collie Shire and community groups, on what was the first stop on their national tour of coal towns around the country. 

The Energy 2030 plan was presented by WA Senator Scott Ludlam, Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt and MLC Diane Evers. 

Member for Collie-Preston Mick Murray said attracting new industry to Collie would be key to helping the town transition without job losses. 

“Collie must expand on its established industrial base to broaden the region’s economic diversity and support growth in new industries,” he said. 

“The Collie Futures Fund will allocate $5 million per year to ensure the sustainability of the coal industry, drive economic diversity and create long term employment security for the people of Collie.

“The State Government will bring the development of industrial land like Shotts Industrial Park under the auspices of the Industrial Lands Authority to develop serviced, ready to use industrial land. The State Government will also develop the required infrastructure at Shotts Industrial Park to better attract business ventures to the region.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union State Secretary Steve McCartney said key stakeholders must be involved in any transition away from coal that may take place. 

“Any discussions about shutting down coal mines or coal-fired power stations should be with all stakeholders, and must be preempted with a discussion about the plan to create new industries and jobs for the Collie region,” he said. 

“We don’t want to see a scenario like what happened when the Hazelwood power plant closed and the devastating impact that had on Latrobe Valley communities.

“To avoid what happened at Hazelwood and to ensure communities like Collie survive, we need to start planning any such transition 5 to 10 years before any closures. 

“Any transition from coal to renewables must be underpinned by a thorough, well-funded plan that would see alternative job-creating industries established before any mines or power stations are closed.”