Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has emphatically turned down a call from Tony Abbott to stay the closure of Hazelwood power station in order to prevent the worsening of the impending energy crisis.
Former Prime Minister Abbott has publicly urged current Prime Minister Turnbull to rethink the planned closure of the Gippsland-based power station in Victoria, warning that carrying on with the plan could push Australia into a full electricity crisis.
In a column for News Limited newspapers, Mr Abbott had said that until the $2bn expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme is complete, there should be no move toward shutting down another of Australia’s large-scale energy sources.
“If we are serious about tackling Australia’s looming energy crisis, the last thing we should be doing is closing 20% of Victoria’s (and 5% of Australia’s) base load power supply,” Mr Abbott said. “If we want secure and affordable power supplies, we can’t lose the ones we have, even if they involve burning coal.”
However, Mr Turnbull has put the idea to bed by announcing this morning that the closure of the plant will go ahead as planned. The Prime Minister stated that he believes there is still plenty of capacity in the generation grid to compensate for the loss of Hazelwood’s output.
He has also moved to ease concerns over the impact of the closure on the workers and the adjacent community, saying that the government will work to support off-set employees of the plant.
“We’re providing substantial support in the community in terms of providing investment and transition, structural adjustment, and we will be supporting the community of the Latrobe Valley in the wake of this closure,” Mr Turnbull said.