Date: Wednesday 18th October 2017
Voices of the Valley calls on federal MPs to back local energy action
Real Australian energy policy leadership this week has been shown not by the Turnbull government but by Independent MP for Indi Cathy McGowan, says Voices of the Valley. On Monday (16 October) McGowan told Parliament that the community energy sector is “a really important part of the energy jigsaw” and called for increased support for community energy initiatives, such as Solar Gardens and other community energy projects being developed by communities for communities, through changes to the ARENA Act, which governs funding for renewable energy projects.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, McGowan said: “We haven’t paid nearly enough attention to the role of communities and local governments in addressing the energy problem. The community energy sector is one really important part of the energy jigsaw.”
President of Voices of the Valley, Wendy Farmer, says: “We call on our Federal members Darren Chester and Russell Broadbent to support Cathy McGowan’s amendments to the ARENA Act and back away from the Federal Government’s continued reliance on technology which is coming to the end of its useful life. Community energy projects such as the Earthworker project and Voices of the Valley’s concept for a Just Transition for the Latrobe Valley will help to develop jobs and low cost power for the region. With increased funding and Federal support, we can do even more.”
Community energy is a growing force in Australian power generation. There are at least 11 community energy groups within Cathy McGowan’s constituency of Indi, and over 90 across the country. Locally the Victorian Government has just funded the Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub to develop a number of innovative renewable energy projects to help residents slash power bills and create local jobs in the Latrobe Valley.
Recent polling shows increasingly positive public attitudes on renewable energy, and Australians lead the world in installation of rooftop solar. This, Voices of the Valley says, should be a signal to politicians that the time has come to act and support community energy.
Mrs Farmer continues: “ Community energy is a win for the environment, a win for lowering power bills and a win for local jobs. International research shows that community ownership of renewables projects increases the local economic benefits of a project, including jobs, up to seven times.”
For Comment: Wendy Farmer, President Voices of the Valley. Phone 0408261551
Voices of the Voices is a non-profit community organisation comprised of Latrobe Valley residents seeking justice in relation to the impacts of the Hazelwood Mine fire and ensuring the community has a Just Transition.
Link to Cathy McGown Speech in Parliament
Aug 1st 2014
Following yesterday’s flare up of hotspots still smouldering from the Hazelwood mine fire, residents are calling for urgent safety upgrades of the Hazelwood mine.
Mrs Wendy Farmer, President, Voices of the Valley:
“As we’ve been saying, the community has absolutely no confidence that another major mine fire isn’t going to happen again. Yesterday’s 50m long fire on a Winter’s day shows that the hotspots still smouldering from February’s mine fire pose a threat to the community.”
No answers from the Parliamentary Secretary
30th July 2014
Voices of the Valley today condemned the lack of answers from the Parliamentary Secretary, Craig Ondarchie MLC, in response to questions about rehabilitation of Hazelwood mine and other issues. The meeting with Mr Onarchie was arranged following the Premier’s refusal to meet with community members.
Mrs Wendy Farmer, President of Voices of the Valley:
“Premier Napthine is still missing in action, so he’s sent the Parliamentary Secretary, Craig Ondarchie, to meet with us. Although Mr Ondarchie expressed sympathy and concern, he did not have the authority to respond to our issues.”