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Premier - Offshore Wind Farms

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 6 September 2021

Tags: Wind Farms, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Premier, Victoria has just announced it's putting in the first offshore wind farm. As you would be aware, offshore wind farms are standard; for example, offshore wind farms are all around the coast of Scotland. Given the impact of large-scale wind farms and the impact of transmission lines on the landscape and the natural environment, why aren't we looking at offshore wind farms here in Tasmania?

Mr GUTWEIN - We do have a wealth of opportunity and even some of the footprints of our existing wind farms could be developed further. The question of offshore has never been put to me -

Ms O'CONNOR - Never come into your head?

Mr GUTWEIN - No proponent has ever come forward to say we think we should put a wind farm in Bass Strait somewhere between Circular Head and King Island, for example. That has not been proposed.

Ms O'CONNOR - Okay. Again, that is about the settings of government policy and whether or not we are inviting cheaper, more environmentally impactful wind farm infrastructure all over the island, or saying to proponents, actually, we have this marvellous area of Bass Strait where you can park your wind farms that doesn't have such an impact.

Mr GUTWEIN - I just make the point, you say all over -

Ms O'CONNOR - While you do that - because I only get a brief opportunity for questions - in other jurisdictions that have wind farm infrastructure, transmission infrastructure goes underground. Given what the Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council has said about the importance of protecting the natural environment, is your Government prepared to look at asking for the best from proponents that has the least impact on the landscape?

CHAIR - Just before you answer, Premier, I make the point, Ms O'Connor, that you have had 37 brief opportunities so far this morning to ask questions.

Mr GUTWEIN - First, I would refute the point that you made about windfarm development being all over the island. In terms of towers and blades, when was the last time you actually saw a wind farm?

Ms O'CONNOR - I was up there at mannalargenna Day and saw the wonderful wind farm up in the north east. I see them semi-frequently.

Mr GUTWEIN - I was up there as well that day. You have to drive a long way to have any visual impact from any of our current wind farms. Again, through our planning scheme we are looking to ensure that we minimise the visual aspect of these farms as they come forward. For most Tasmanians, the vast majority haven't seen any of our current windfarm infrastructure.