On Wednesday, Parliament debated a Greens’ Bill that would mean Alcoa (the owners of Anglesea coal mine and power station) would have to be subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. They are one of the very few companies in Victoria that are exempt from FOI.
This exemption has meant in the past Alcoa has been able to hide important health and emissions information from the public -- information that other companies would have had to release.
Now that the Anglesea coal mine and plant are closing, it’s more important than ever that information about the rehabilitation of the mine site and plant are out in the open. This is why we introduced this Bill.
After days spent negotiating with all sides of politics, we decided to make it so that the FOI laws applied only to Anglesea (not Alcoa’s Portland smelter) and make sure the laws weren’t retrospective. Although we’d prefer not to water down the Bill, we felt it was more important to pass laws to increase transparency about Anglesea’s future. In doing this, we were able to support from the Liberals, Nationals and cross-bench and saw the Bill pass the Upper House.
However, at the last minute, Labor voted against our Bill in the lower house, meaning Alcoa will remain under the veil of secrecy.
It was incredibly disappointing for me to see that Labor has yet again chosen to line up with coal, rather than standing with the Anglesea community, and with communities affected by coal mining throughout Victoria. People living in these areas deserve the truth about the impacts of coal on their health and on their environment.
Thanks to all the communities who have fought, and continue to fight against coal across the state. The Greens will continue to stand with you and keep pushing for no new coal, for coal plants to be replaced with renewables, and for information about coal plant and mine rehabilitation to be made public.