Sixty people protested outside the closed Solar Systems factory in Abbotsford on September 18. The factory closed a week earlier when Solar Systems went into receivership due to its major investor, TRUenergy, withdrawing its investment.
Employees were given no notice and sent home without any guarantee that they would receive their entitlements. TRUenergy retains its ownership of the Yallourn coalmine and power station.
Phil Sutton, convenor of the Climate Emergency Network, addressed the protest. He described a consistent pattern of government changing and disrupting the support mechanisms for the renewable industry, while remaining committed to the fossil fuel sector.
Solar Systems had been promised millions in government funding for its solar power station to be built at Mildura, but had received only $500,000. Greens speaker Adam Bandt asked: "Why is it OK to bail out the banks but not projects that are helping save the planet?"
Workers from the plant who returned to collect personal belongings joined the protest. An engineer from the factory spoke, explaining that the technology was more or less ready to go, but would now probably be taken overseas. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union officials attended to show support.