Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE, Mr JAENSCH
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) Tasmania (lutruwita) held a climate action rally yesterday. We asked them what they wanted to ask you about. They shared their deep concerns about new coal projects in Tasmania, and rightly so. Your Government is supporting a new coalmine in Fingal and advertising a huge new coal exploration licence. That is in addition to your recent gifts of taxpayer money to coal exploration projects.
Minister, this is AYCC's question to you:
We need a renewable future with no fossil fuels. There is no such thing as clean coal, and the Fingal Valley Coal Mine is a huge step back for a climate-friendly Tasmania.
As climate change minister, you have a responsibility to protect the environment and do everything you can to prevent further devastation. We are facing a climate crisis. The floods in northern Tasmania are just beginning.
Minister, what will you do to prevent new coal projects in Tasmania?
Ms O'Connor - Good question. Pity none of your colleagues listened to it. Too busy heckling over petty things. Listen to the kids? Not interested.
Mr SPEAKER - Order. The minister has the call.
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Franklin for her question on behalf of young people concerned about the state's future, our energy future. I hope they, today, join with us in welcoming the commitments that have been made, that provide certainty for Tasmania's renewable energy future through the signing of today's agreements with the Australian Government regarding Marinus Link.
Marinus Link is going to be fundamental -
Dr Woodruff - Talk about the subsidies to coal. That is what they want to know.
Mr JAENSCH - for Tasmania to realise its potential to develop our resources in renewable energy generation, to export them, and to provide for more than our current needs in electricity. If we are going to fully electrify our economy we have to go beyond providing our current electricity needs from renewable energy sources. We are going to have to start replacing imported fossil fuels, which are still used in our economy, with electricity or other fuels derived from our renewable energy sources, so -
Dr WOODRUFF - Mr Speaker, standing order 45, relevance. I draw the Minister for Environment and Climate Change - and for Education, Children and Youth - to their question to you about your support for coal in Tasmania, and what you are going to do to stop it.
Mr SPEAKER - Order. If you do not have a point of order, could you resume your seat. The minister understands the question, I am sure, and he is answering it. Allow him that opportunity.
Dr Woodruff - The children have asked this question.
Mr JAENSCH - Mr Speaker, I anticipate that the children who have asked this question are very interested in my answer. I want to make sure they understand the important work that is underway to ensure that Tasmania, in the future, can not only continue to meet its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, but that we have the capacity to generate more renewable energy to meet our future needs, to replace fossil fuels in our economy, and to export into the national electricity market so that other states and other Australians can do the same.
I am aware that the previous Labor-Greens government granted a mining lease to HardRock Coal Mining in 2013 for category two minerals, being coal, in the Fingal Valley. Since the granting of the lease, apparently no mining of coal has occurred.
Our focus is on Tasmania's renewable energy future, our capacity to continue to meet our needs, and our capacity to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy resources.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. The question relates to what the minister is going to do about coal and preventing coal. He has deflected it. This is for the kids, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER - I am sure the minister heard the question. I cannot put words into his mouth, as I have said before. He will answer it the best way that he sees fit. I will allow the minister to continue.
Mr JAENSCH - Mr Speaker, as Minister for Environment and Climate Change, I have clearly laid out our absolute priority is to power Tasmania's future electricity needs, and replace fossil fuels in our economy with energy from our own renewable energy sources as part of a national electricity market.