A 700-people-strong community march in Anglesea has called for aluminium giant Alcoa to shut down its polluting coal power plant, which is set to continue producing energy despite the imminent closure of the nearby smelter it was designed to supply.
The rally was organised by the local community group, Surf Coast Air Action, with the support of Friends of the Earth.
“For fifty years, Anglesea has hosted a coal mine and power plant. Today, the community had a simple message for their guest: it’s time to shut it down,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s Renewable Energy Coordinator.
Citing public health concerns, the community called for the power plant to be retired and the mine remediated. The plant, currently Australia’s third largest emitter of sulphur dioxide, a known respiratory irritant, is located just 500 metres from a primary school.
“It’s time to put public health ahead of pollution, and Anglesea’s aspirations ahead of Alcoa’s profits,” said Ewbank.
Alcoa and the Napthine government have been notably silent about the future of the Anglesea coalmine and power plant.The ‘Shut It Down’ campaign will take its case to prospective buyers, energy retailers and the banks. The group says there’s no social license to operate a coal power plant or mine in the town.