Greens plan to cancel WA coal

THE Australian Greens have unveiled a plan to renew Western Australia by transitioning away from coal to a “clean energy economy” that exports hydrogen and ammonia in place of coal.
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The Greens arriving to the press conference at Parliament in Perth. Photo by Karma Barndon

Launched on the steps of WA's Parliament House yesterday by party leader Richard Di Natale and WA senators Jordan Steele-John and Rachel Siewert, the Renew Western Australia plan claims more than 24,165 jobs will be created in the state if WA dumps coal in favour of clean and exportable renewable energy.

According to the Greens, Australia is in a race against time on climate change, which they say is the cause of the recent drought, bushfires and rising sea levels.

Their plan says climate change is being exacerbated by pollution from burning coal.

The Greens plan to tackle this change by transitioning from coal, fracking and drilling for gas to clean and exportable renewable energy.

Their idea of renewable energy is selling hydrogen or ammonia or selling renewable electricity to Asia via underwater cables.

As part of the Renew WA plan the Greens say they will offer fossil fuel workers free training so they can seamlessly move into renewable energy jobs, and create a public retailer that sells only renewable energy.

The party will also attempt to kick-start the electric vehicle revolution and ban political donations from mining companies.

Di Natale told reporters at the launch that people were desperate for leadership on climate change and they wanted a government to lead not drag its heels.

He said the Greens were the only party with a plan to transition from coal.

WA Senator Jordan Steele-John, who is not confident he will keep his seat in the upcoming election, said young Australians demanded radical action, because their future was more important than fossil fuel profits.

"In WA gas and coal are part of the same energy mix and we want gas phased out too," he said.

Jordan Steele-John said India and China had made it clear their future was in renewables.

He said with the Greens, there would not be the hatred or division embodied by One Nation.

When it was put to Steele-John that a plan that would put people out of work and close down industries vital to WA's economy could itself cause division and hatred in the state, he disagreed.

"No, no this is about creating new industries, it's not about division it's about reality," Steele-John said.

Di Natale later said the Greens wanted to move away from coal exports, not gas exports, and it was thermal coal not coking coal it was seeking to ban.

"Coal-fired power generators have no future in WA," he said.

"There's so much we could be doing but we've got two parties stuck in the past."

Di Natale said the embarrassing debate over electric vehicles was wacky stuff and bonkers, and anybody looking at the debate would be seeing a party stuck in the 1950s.

He said the EV transition was coming, with Bloomberg predicting that by 2025 EVs would be as cheap as internal combustion vehicles.

Di Natale said people in the coal industry understood the work they were doing did not actually have a long-term future, and they wanted certainty.

"This is about planning for the future, not leaving it to the market knowing that these industries will shut down regardless of what politicians say about it."

He said the plan right now though was to focus on coal.

He said he was looking forward over the Easter break to being part of the Adani protests.