Andrews Labor Government clueless on Big Battery fire impact

Labor’s Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio has come out of hiding, six days after Labor’s Big Battery project caught fire, to confirm that she has no idea what impact the fire will have on the battery project.

The Minister confirmed to media this morning that Labor’s Big Battery was meant to be completed and go online by November this year, but now can’t say how the fire has impacted this schedule.

Batteries have a critical role to play in our renewable future but must be safe for communities, staff, and our power grid. That’s why the Andrews Labor Government needs to be open and transparent with the investigations currently underway.

Disappointingly, to date there has been no indication that the Andrews Labor Government has a desire to be upfront with Victorians on this issue.

Here’s the timeline to date:

  • Friday 30 July: Victorian Labor’s signature ‘Big Battery’ project catches fire, Shadow Energy Minister calls for full investigation into the cause and circumstances
  • Saturday 31 July: Labor’s Energy Minister, radio silence
  • Sunday 1 August: Labor’s Energy Minister, radio silence – again
  • Monday 2 August: Four days after the fire commenced, Labor’s Energy Minister releases a late night tweet saying that a number of agencies are investigating the fire
  • Tuesday 3 August: Labor’s Energy Minister, radio silence – again, again
  • Wednesday 4 August: Six days after the fire commenced Labor’s Energy Minister comes out of hiding and confirms that she has no idea what impact the fire will have on the operational timing of the battery

The Liberal Nationals are calling on the Andrews Labor Government to be open and transparent as investigations into this fire get underway. Questions need to be answered, such as:

  • How long has this incident pushed back the battery coming online?
  • What impact will the new project timeline have on our energy supply and security over summer?
  • How much will the Victorian taxpayer pay when the project schedule is pushed out?
  • When will investigations into the fire be completed?
  • Will all reports from these investigations be publicly released?
  • Which agency has overall coordination of these investigations to ensure that lessons are learnt and applied to future projects?
  • Why did it take six days for Labor’s Energy Minister to front the media on this matter?

The 300MW battery has been touted by Labor as a key component to fill the 1450MW hole that will be created by the retirement of the Yallourn coal-fired power plant in mid-2028.

If Labor’s renewable energy solutions go up in flames even before they’re fully operational – what hope do Victorians have that this Government will be able to effectively manage the renewable energy transition?

The Andrews Labor Government is guilty of having no plan for Victoria’s renewable energy transition, instead only caring about its own PR and spin.

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