Andrews Government in slow lane on Kawasaki’s Hydrogen Road

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has called on the Andrews Labor Government to do more to support a ground-breaking, low-emissions energy project in the Latrobe Valley.

Ms Bath spoke in parliament last week at the same time as Brown Coal Innovation Australia hosted its Carbon to Products seminar at Federation University at Churchill.

Ms Bath referred to a project driven by Japanese industrial giant Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Known as Kawasaki’s Hydrogen Road, the plan is to power vehicles with hydrogen produced from brown coal.

The project has been in the development stages for more than five years and has featured in talks at the highest levels, including between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at their meetings in January of this year and in early 2017.

In 2013, former Nationals Member for South Gippsland the Hon Peter Ryan had visited Kawasaki’s trial plant in Osaka, Japan, when he was Deputy Premier in the former Liberal Nationals coalition government.

“This project has significant potential for the Latrobe Valley,” Ms Bath said.

“Without the initial support and encouragement of Peter Ryan it may not have progressed. But have things slowed down over the past three years?”

Ms Bath questioned whether there was any reluctance around the project from the Andrews Labor Government.

“Those who talk down the Latrobe Valley’s coal-fired power stations keep referring to the need to look at the industries and technologies of the future.”

“That’s exactly where Kawasaki Heavy Industries is at with this ingenious plan – at the leading edge of hydrogen technology globally.”

“The Andrews Government should be doing everything possible to support Kawasaki in their endeavours with this project.”