Speech on Greens’ Motion – "Renewable Energy in Port Augusta"

June 17, 2015

Senator Bob Day has attacked the Greens’ motion ‘commiserating’ with workers in Port Augusta and Leigh Creek losing their jobs, saying those very job losses were what the Greens intended with their anti-coal policies:

“I genuinely commiserate with the 400 plus people who have lost their jobs in Port Augusta, Leigh Creek and the Mid North region of my home state of South Australia. But I do not accept for one second the Greens’ false empathy and crocodile tears inherent in this motion.

The closure of these base-load energy producing enterprises was not a consequence of Greens energy policy – it was an objective. The Greens have made no secret of their determination to destroy the jobs and livelihoods of these energy workers. So please, spare us the crocodile tears and stop destroying people’s livelihoods.”

Senator Day has been a constant supporter of jobs in the existing energy industry, and a critic of renewable energy subsidies that support wind, solar and similar newer technologies.

Senator Day co-sponsored the motion to establish – and is deputy chair of – the inquiry into Wind Turbines which has heard evidence from all over the nation about the negative health and other impacts of siting wind turbines near people’s homes.

The Greens’ motion about job losses was co-sponsored by South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon. It read:

“That the Senate—

(a) commiserates with the 440 workers who will lose their jobs at the Leigh Creek coal mine and Port Augusta coal-fired power stations, which are flagged for closure by 2018;

(b) recognises the outstanding leadership of the Repower Port Augusta Alliance and the Port Augusta City Council in working with the community to advocate for solar thermal to replace the outdated coal power stations;

(c) acknowledges solar thermal presents great employment opportunities, as well as economic, health and environmental benefits for the Port Augusta community; and

(d) calls on the Federal and South Australian governments to assist the Port Augusta community in transitioning to a clean energy future, providing jobs and security for the region.