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Exposed: Coal power station 'falling apart'

Fairfax Media released an investigation over the weekend exposing a litany of failures at one of AGL’s coal-burning power stations [1]. The investigation was prompted by our Freedom of Information request which uncovered an internal report exposing risky conditions at AGL’s Bayswater power station in NSW. These conditions have been backed up by a whistleblower working at Bayswater who revealed parts of the power station were falling apart and management turned a blind eye to problems that could risk public health.

Bayswater power station

Some of the findings include:

  • 73 key risks identified by AGL across almost all parts of the power station
  • Failure of filter bags that are supposed to trap 99% of the particulate pollution 
  • Warnings about the risk of ash spills, which ultimately occured
  • Damaged and deteriorating pipework
  • Contaminated liquid entering the stormwater system
  • More than a dozen parts of the plant not being properly inspected or maintained

The whistleblower shares stories of watching clouds of ash being released due to a failure of a valve in one of the ash collection silos, and of filter bags not actually filtering toxic pollutants due to cheap, poor quality materials used.

Local GP and Healthy Futures supporter Dr Tuan Au is acutely aware of the risk that fine particle pollution from coal burning is having on local cases of asthma, respiratory diseases and premature death. Tuan found 1 in 6 children in the local region had diminished lung capacity in his 2009 study. We know that PM2.5, a fine particle pollutant, from coal power stations already leads to 620 premature deaths in NSW [2].  These new revelations show the situation is more urgent as AGL is not even meeting the minimum standards it is accountable for.


Do you work or study in health?

Please join over 500 other healthcare professionals by signing our open letter to AGL calling for a transition from polluting coal to clean, renewable energy by 2030.


Help expose this scandal

Healthy Futures is running a campaign to urge AGL, Australia’s worst climate polluter, to transition from coal power to renewable energy by 2030, in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

Please help expose these findings to increase pressure on AGL. As trusted healthcare professionals, students and allies, our voices are crucial to help prevent more toxic air pollution impacting communities. 

If you are on social media, could you please share one or more of these posts we created to encourage others to join our call? Or feel free to write your own post using these as a guide.

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AGL has come under increasing pressure thanks to the work of concerned health professionals like you and others. We must ensure AGL responds to this exposé  appropriately and make a firm commitment to switch from polluting coal to clean, renewable energy to protect our health and our climate.


[1] Read the full investigative story:


[2] Research Report:

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