On Sunday April 30 over 500 people rallied on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide in calling on Jay Weatherill to use the SA Government’s power purchase to back building solar thermal with storage in Port Augusta, not a new privately owned gas plant.
The rally was powerfully addressed by former power station worker of 17 years Gary Rowbottom (you can read his speech here), Mayor of Port Augusta Sam Johnson, AYCC campaigners Lovisa Muyderman and Maddie Sarre and MC’d by Port Augusta resident and councillor Lisa Lumsden.
Former Power Station Worker Gary Rowbottom fires up the rally
The rally engaged a broad range of the community with Port Augusta residents getting on a bus organised by the Repowerlocal group as well as driving from Port Augusta and other regional areas as well as strong union support including the Australian Services Union SA/NT Branch who represented workers at the now closed coal station.
On the bus from Port Augusta
Political Impact & Next Steps
On the day, the rally drew response in the media and online from Energy Minister and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis who told The Advertiser that solar thermal power was “absolutely in the mix” for the State Government going forwardand tweeting that “we all want this technology to succeed! Well almost everyone, you know, the coal advocates not so much”.
The rally has led to a meeting with Premier Weatherill on June 1 to present a petition of over 6500 South Australians in support of building solar thermal in Port Augusta. In the lead up to the rally Repower Port Augusta, Solar Citizens and the AYCC ran a full back page ad in the Premier’s local paper calling on him to act.
With a final announcement from the government expected at the end of June the Repower Port Augusta campaign will continue to mobilise public pressure to secure a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta supporting the region to transition beyond coal and giving SA a flagship on-demand clean power project.