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Energy – Biomass Burning

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 26 November 2020

Tags: Biomass, Native Forest Logging

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, when the Tasmanian renewable energy target bill came to parliament you would remember that the Greens moved an amendment to that to rule out the use of native forest wood products in biomass burning to go towards the renewable energy target. This is something countries across the whole of European Union are right now looking at changing their laws around. The advice they have received from their scientific advisory council is that the emissions across the whole life cycle are substantial and can no longer be justified in meeting the Paris targets. Minister, for the record will you rule out using the renewable energy target as a backdoor way of stimulating and starting a biomass burning plant in Tasmania?

Mr BARNETT - It is a very similar, if not the same, question that you asked me during debate on the Tasmanian renewable energy target legislation, which was passed unanimously in our House and then with the overwhelming support in the upper House, for which I am very grateful.

Dr WOODRUFF - You might have had a chance to look at the science since then and reflect on your position. All I am trying to find out is if you have updated yourself.

Mr BARNETT - I disagree with your characterisation of your understanding of that. As a government, we have made our position clear. It has been put in the parliament a week or so ago during that debate. We have made it clear regarding renewable energy and access to water, wind and solar.

I thought we would be thoughtful and wanting to approve the legislation and introduce that amendment to allow for the minister to issue and put through an order which would be a disallowable instrument and allow the parliament to express a view as to whether there is support or no support in either house of the parliament. I think it did improve and strengthen the legislation for which -

Dr WOODRUFF - We proposed it.

Mr BARNETT - I actually proposed it.

Dr WOODRUFF - We wrote to the Premier beforehand, but whatever. We are glad you did it.

Mr BARNETT - I am glad you supported the amendment that I moved on behalf of the Government. It did strengthen it and it allowed the opportunity for future parliaments to review the science and the evidence at the time. I made clear at the time that bioenergy is really important for our future here in Tasmania. I am looking forward to rolling out our draft renewable energy vision. Mark Moroney within our department is certainly very well versed in this space and will be leading that work. That is part of our budget announcements, access to bioenergy. You are right in noting that in Europe and in North America they support bioenergy very significantly.

Dr WOODRUFF - That is not what I said. For the record the Hansard should state that is not what I said. I said the scientists are advising that the position they have had should be reversed.

Mr BARNETT - This is your view of the science.

Dr WOODRUFF - No, this is the Science Advisory Council to the European Parliament. It is not my view.

Mr BARNETT - You are putting a view forward and I am making it clear that this is really important and it has been not only for years but for decades, across Europe across North America and bioenergy is really important to our future. In Tasmania, we have the opportunities to grow this vision and as a government we have every intention of growing our bioenergy vision. There will be further consultation with members of the public, key stakeholders, not just in forestry but in agriculture, waste to energy, there is a real opportunity in this space. Climate scientist, any scientist can have a view and have input once we put it out for consultation in 2021.

I am looking forward to that opportunity because it will back-in that vision then rollout opportunities for more jobs, more confidence and supporting our local community.

Dr WOODRUFF - We can fight that in the big argument. That was one question I waited while Labor had at least five questions, I waited.

CHAIR - Dr Woodruff, when you ask something that elicits information that is a question. You have made comments that have elicited information, so that is one question.

Dr WOODRUFF - Don't I get two?

CHAIR - I think if you read the Hansard you will see you made comments that elicited information.

Mr O'BYRNE - Also, you make 20-minute speeches before every question.

Dr WOODRUFF - You are more than capable of doing that yourself, Mr O'Byrne.