BY DAKOTA TAIT
Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon is under fire after backing the controversial Redbank Power Station earlier this week.
The Warkworth site is set to be reopened as a wood-waste biomass power station, after being closed as a coal-fired station in 2014.
Mr Fitzgibbon, the former Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources, says the generator will be beneficial to keeping the state’s electricity supply reliable and affordable.
But local activists in the Redbank Action Group said claims that the recommissioned station, once Australia’s biggest polluting electricity generator, will produce green and renewable energy were simply unfounded.
Environmental advocates say between industrial logging projects, truck movements, and the burning of forest waste, the station could be even more destructive than before.
Redbank Action Group’s David Burgess says the numbers simply don’t add up to sustainability.
“This is our valley’s transition nightmare,” Mr Burgess said. “At a time when the best minds in the Hunter are coming together to negotiate a difficult path beyond coal, the last thing we need is a Trojan horse of fake forest logging jobs masquerading as green energy.”
Mr Fitzgibbon denied accusations about the Redbank project, saying the station will be a “multiple win”.
“Forestry is a renewable product, so this is an environmentally sound proposal which will also allow us to recommission a big power station and make the timber industry more profitable,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“There are some people who are against everything, isn’t there?” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“Of course, where you have employment you have truck movements, and I’m sure that can be managed, but this is an exciting opportunity to recommission Redbank Power Station.”