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Commonwealth Government's Energy Policy

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tags: Renewable Energy, Climate Change


Your Prime Minister and federal Cabinet have rejected the advice of the chief scientist, Alan Finkel, and rejected a clean energy target in a move described by your South Australian counterpart, Jay Weatherill, who was slamming yesterday's decision as a complete victory for the coal industry. The abandonment of the renewable sector, subsidies for renewables, renewable energy certificates and backing in of high emissions power sources has also been criticised by Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Victoria's Premier, Daniel Andrews.

Do you agree this is a backward step on energy policy, which provides strong disincentives for new low emission forms of energy and that it will hurt Tasmania? You, to date, have remained silent on this retrograde policy's impact on Tasmania and future investment in renewable energy here. Who are you backing, our federal party colleagues or Tasmania?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I will put Tasmania first every single day of the week. I will do whatever is in Tasmania's best interests and I will tell anyone who is interested in that. I will not listen to what Labor premiers now, of the past, or hopeful premiers of the future would say. How was it putting Tasmania first when Labor and the Greens drained the dam storage levels in Tasmania on the eve of carbon tax? How was that putting Tasmania first, when dam level storages fell to frightening lows, when prices rose 65 per cent over seven years under Labor and the Greens, and when Labor and the Greens failed to invest in hydro generation infrastructure?

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Members know that when the call is given to a minister or the Premier that interjections should not happen and interjections should cease. I am sure the students of Elizabeth College would agree that the question, honourable and important enough to be asked, deserves all to listen to the answer.

Mr HODGMAN - Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am not surprised they are so embarrassed and shamed by their approach to energy policy under Government when they drove power prices up for Tasmanians. They drained our water storage levels and failed to invest in renewable generation when they had the chance. Yet now, they presume to lecture us on energy policy. I will point to their track record because it is a record of failure. Our record of standing up for Tasmania is well established. It was members opposite who challenged me and the Treasurer to go to Canberra to fight for and secure our fair share of the GST, which we did and which we won. They still complained about it. Well, we will do it again, every day of the week, including on energy policy if it is not in our best interests. We are not convinced this is but we will continue to work with the Commonwealth, defending Tasmania's position every single step of the way. We have a track record of doing that and it will continue.

It is true our commitment to lower power prices, energy security and to putting Tasmania first are unequivocal, as is our commitment to ensuring Tasmania's interests are protected. We are confident that Cattle Hill Wind Farm will not be affected. We are confident Granville Harbour Wind Farm will not be affected. We will seek further advice with respect to Robbins Island but these are all projects happening now and being progressed under a majority Liberal Government.

Members opposite who had 16 years, or at least four years, in cosy coalition did not develop any of these projects, but they are happening under a majority Liberal Government. Our track record for progressing renewable energy development in this state stands in stark contrast to the failures of the former Labor-Greens government. Their only achievement was to drive up power prices and to drain dam storage levels. Our track record of standing up for Tasmania and what is in our best interests is also in striking contrast to what members opposite are offering now, which is nothing.