Last week it was Elon Musk in South Australia and this week it is former US Vice President Al Gore visiting Victoria for the 2017 EcoCity World Summit, predictably to talk about climate change, the so-called evils of coal and need for more renewables.
Two different weeks, and two different states – but the same embarrassing spectacle of star struck governments using taxpayer money to curry favour with celebrities.
Today the Victorian Energy Minister hopped on a tram with Mr Gore to announce a $146 million Renewable Energy Plan to fund the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (basically the State Government guaranteeing to buy the output of solar and wind farms), batteries and computer software to try to improve the integration of renewables into the electricity grid.
It is interesting how technologies already supposedly cheaper than fossil fuels are always needing some kind of support!
Hopefully nobody on the tram tried to take pictures as the Herald Sun is reporting that a number of people attending the conference were “physically stopped by security staff from taking mobile phone pictures of Mr Gore” or recording his speech, though this rule obviously didn’t apply to Premier Andrews who posted this happy snap on Twitter.
Given the 100% electricity price rises between 2006 and 2016 (and 20% rises on 1 July with more to come) the last thing Australians need is a lecture by comfortable celebrities like Mr Gore, especially when the end result is higher power prices and workers losing their jobs.
After the forced closure of Hazelwood in March, the only things Victoria’s Andrews Government should be focusing on are reducing electricity prices and preventing summer blackouts.
Perhaps the Energy Minister should take Mr Gore out to the Latrobe Valley and make him explain to the former Hazelwood workers why they lost their jobs because of the climate policies he advocates.