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Hydro Cloud-seeding Cover Up


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tags: Energy, Floods, Hydro

Ms WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ENERGY, Mr GROOM

The record winter floods took the lives of three Tasmanians.  It destroyed homes, paddocks, fences and roads and had a devastating impact on rural communities.  Tasmanians are understandably concerned that Hydro Tasmania cloud-seeded to boost rainfall less than 24 hours before statewide flooding was projected.  You asked Hydro to investigate its own activities and then released the findings of that inquiry late on a Friday evening to avoid scrutiny.  The community, farming bodies, mayors, upper House members and opposition parties are all unhappy at what smells like a cover-up.  Will you listen to people's concerns and mistrusts and hold the independent and transparent investigation that you should have ordered in the first place?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question.  As I have said a number of times in relation to this issue, we understand the community concern.  I have expressed the view myself that I recognise why people have questions about what took place on 5 June.  That is why I asked Hydro Tasmania to undertake a review and they have provided the findings of that review.  It is important to recognise that the conclusion they have drawn is that events on that particular day had no measurable impact.  Hydro Tasmania have very considerable expertise and I would never question their integrity in providing those findings to government. 

We have said on the record that we have not ruled out a further look at this.  Hydro Tasmania committed to undertake a full review of all of their policies and procedures and as part of that to engage broadly with relevant stakeholders.  I believe that is the appropriate next step.  I have also indicated there is the potential for there to be other forms of inquiry associated with this event so in that context I do not think it is appropriate that we pre-empt that.  I believe the appropriate next step is for Hydro to undertake further work and engage with stakeholders, and the Government will make further judgements at an appropriate time.

I want to address the assertion made by the member in relation to the release of the report.  I reject it absolutely and categorically.  I have said a number of times on the public record that I asked Hydro to undertake that report and to return it to the Government as soon as possible.  When we received it I asked it for it to be released publicly as soon as possible.  I am sorry if that happened on a Friday afternoon.

Opposition and Greens members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The House will come to order.

Mr GROOM - There is no doubt at all that had I gone out on the Saturday, having received it on the Friday, and been asked where the report was, I would then be accused of hiding the report.  I wanted that to be in the public domain as soon as possible.  Any suggestion that it was about avoiding scrutiny I absolutely and categorically reject.