You are here

Energy Security

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Tags: Energy Security, Renewable Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, this matter of public importance is very interesting. It is asking the wrong question. The Labor Party is totally ignoring where we are on the planet at the moment, where we are in terms of fossil fuel use. It is concerning that the Labor Party has been revealing itself more and more in recent weeks to be the party that does the spruiking of the needs of industry. We have had them running cover and doing everything they can to protect Coca Cola and Schweppes Lion Nathan in the container refund scheme, to kick that scheme down the road. They have done their best in their time in office and out of office to delay the container refund scheme. That is the attempt by Labor to prolong the container refund scheme for Tasmanians even further because it will benefit the beverage industry's needs, rather than putting the environment first.

Here we are today, again with the Labor Party ignoring the reality of where we are on the planet. In case they have forgotten, we are in a code red for humanity. Yes, there was a Glasgow COP26 and our countries did agree that we have a terrible problem burning fossil fuels and it is risking the survival of all species on the planet in the not too distant future. We had scientists warning us of the possibility of ice-sheet collapse, thermohaline circulation reversal, permafrost melting and the loss of the lungs of the planet with the Amazon and the deforestation causing an inexorable heating of the planet. We already have 1.2 degrees Celsius above the long term average and on the Australian mainland it is 1.5 degrees.

I see, from the smirks on the Labor Party's faces while I say these things, that it is a joke, that they do not take this seriously. If they did, they would understand that the pressure they should be putting on the Liberals, which is where the Greens are pressing, is: what is the plan for getting out of fossil fuels in Tasmania? Where is the plan? For when?

We must inevitably end our reliance on the Tamar Valley gas station. That will have to happen. When you have countries around the world coming to an agreement in one year's time, our prime minister, whoever that person will be - and we sincerely hope that the Liberals are not returned. But, the Labor Party, unless it is returned with a crossbench that has the Greens holding a balance of power arrangement in the federal parliament, will not do anything other than continue the bidding of the coal, gas and oil industries, which is what they are doing here in Tasmania.

The Labor Party in Tasmania is doing everything it can to spruik the interests of Tas Gas Pipeline, which is in negotiations for a contract. They are not putting the interest of Tasmanians first. They are not talking about safety and security for our children, they are not prosecuting or scrutinising the Government for where the plan is to get out of fossil fuels in Tasmania. We cannot pretend that we should be putting the interest of a private company that wants to do everything it can to talk about the end of the world as we know it if they do not get what they want in their negotiations. Of course they are doing that. That is in their commercial interest. But they should not have the support of the Tasmanian Labor Party in pushing them to get a commercial advantage in their favour over the best interests of Tasmanians.

This is about energy security for Tasmania. It is about security, full stop. And the security of Tasmania is best advanced by making sure that we have a plan for getting out of fossil fuels. You have never talked about the plan. We have a plan we funded, we do an alternative budget every year, we have a full set of policies, a Green new deal, which we brought to the election, we have a plan.

This is a disgraceful matter of public importance. It is the wrong question. You would have expected the Labor Party to be scrutinising the failure of the Government to talk about how we are going to end, and the timeframe for ending, our reliance on gas in Tasmania. We have to have a plan. It has to intersect with the development of a green hydrogen industry and we have to see numbers on papers, instead of these endless press releases around elections time, federal and state, about Marinus, Battery of the Nation, big talk, no detail.

We have to have details, we want to know what is in Tasmania's best interest in terms of the money that will be spent. The money should be spent, first and foremost, on bringing down carbon emissions in Tasmania. That means two things: we need to end the clearfelling and burning of our native forests; and we need to create sectoral targets for every single industry sector in Tasmania to 2030, to 2050 and beyond. We need to have very clear targets, because as a world we need to have 75 per cent less carbon emissions by 2030. That is what the scientists are telling us. This is our challenge and we have to work on it together.

We will be working, scrutinising the Government, asking questions, demanding a clear plan. Meanwhile, I hope the Labor Party changes their tune from spruiking the interests of big business, to putting the interests of Tasmanians on climate change first.