Health Workers Call for Renewable Future, criticise Coal Bailouts

Healthy Futures

Healthy Futures is deeply disappointed at today’s announcement that NSW Premier Chris Minns is extending the life of Australia’s largest coal-fired power station.

Last year, Healthy Futures on behalf of a number of peak health organisations in NSW, wrote to the NSW Government urgently asking for the replacement of fossil fuel based energy with renewable energy as fast as possible, and not to extend Eraring’s operations.

The news that Eraring will continue to operate past its planned closure date, with public money, comes just weeks after G7 nations announced a historic and much needed commitment to phasing out coal power stations by 2035. This discrepancy highlights Australia is beholden to the fossil fuel industry and is fast becoming an energy laggard as the world shifts towards clean energy.

Healthy Futures campaigner, Dr Bronwyn McDonald, said “It is incredulous logic to prop up a dirty coal power station while the world moves decisively towards renewables. This decision prioritises the short term interests of the fossil fuel industry over the health of our communities and the future of our planet”

Extending the life of Eraring further locks NSW into high polluting energy sources, and burdens taxpayers and energy consumers with unnecessary costs. This extraordinary amount of money would be far better directed towards investments in renewable energy, which are cleaner and will provide more affordable energy. Renewables offer a reliable, and sustainable path to energy security, unlike coal power stations, which also pollute more as they age.

Continuing reliance on coal directly compromises public health. Coal fired power stations are a major source of air pollution, which contributes to respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and even cancer. By prioritising renewables we can ensure cleaner air for all NSW residents.

Last year, Healthy Futures, along with the support of the NSW Royal Australian College General Practitioners, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Asthma Australia, the Australasian Epidemiological Association, and the Public Health Association of Australia, wrote to Premier Minns expressing their deep concern about any possible extension of operations at Eraring and the significant health impacts this would have.

Healthy Futures also support calls from energy experts and environment groups for transparency around the reported decision to keep Eraring open. The justifications and full details of the proposal are needed, and Healthy Futures urges the Government to reconsider any decisions that would see coal fired power stations operate a day longer than needed, and instead invest in a cleaner, healthier future for NSW.

/Public Release.