Protesters gathered outside New South Wales Parliament on October 18 to call on Labor not to continue to publicly fund Origin Energy, the owner of Eraring power station.
The protest was supported by the Nature Conservation Council (NCC), Sydney Climate Coalition (SCC), Solar Citizens, Sydney Knitting Nannas and Friends and Healthy Futures.
About 100 protesters chanted “No public funding for Origin's coal-fired profits! Transition now!” as they marched from parliament to Origin’s AGM in The Rocks.
They want Labor to drop its plan to publicly subsidise the power station beyond its planned closure date of 2025. The corporation receives up to $500 million in public subsidies through the coal-price cap. Origin announced a $1 million profit in August.
Speakers included Gadigal elder Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford; Dr Charlotte Hespe, Chair of the Royal Australian College of GPs ; Nirvana Talukder from School Strike 4 Climate; Kate Minter from Rewiring Australia with Paddy Gibson from SCC chairing.
An open letter to Premier Chris Minns, circulated beforehand, called on his government “not to waste a cent” on Origin Energy’s Eraring coal-fired power station.
“Despite the urgency of a transition away from fossil fuels, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increased over the last year,” it said.
“Eraring’s annual emissions equal those of all passenger vehicles on NSW roads. The planned closure of Eraring in 2025 plays a crucial role in the NSW government’s own emissions reduction plans and must proceed.”
It said spending public funds to prop up a “profitable, privately-owned coal generator” could set back the energy transition.
Greater public funding should be spent on rolling out renewables and ensure job security for transitioning workers and communities, it urged.