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State Growth - Robbins Island

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: Wind Farms, Environment, Coordinator-General, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Does the Office of the Coordinator-General have any involvement in the proposed windfarm on Robbins Island, which as we know, is proposed to be located on a Ramsar quality wetland?

Mr JAENSCH - Yes, I believe that the Coordinator-General has had some involvement there.

Ms O'CONNOR - Would you like to be more transparent about that involvement with the Robbins Island windfarm proponent? Are there any concerns about the fact that this windfarm is proposed to sit on top of a Ramsar quality wetland of international significance for migratory birds and resident shore birds?

Mr JAENSCH - The most important thing is that any proposal that has any impact on natural values that are protected under state and Commonwealth legislation need to be -

Ms O'CONNOR - 'Protected' is a word that is subjective in this case.

CHAIR - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr JAENSCH - You apply your own Greens lens to anything and you have your own language, your own phrase book for everything.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's what the Samuel's report found about the EPBC act. It's not protecting the environment.

Mr JAENSCH - The point is that any project that triggers state or national threatened species or other environmental approvals process needs to be assessed through those approvals processes. There's no way around that.

Ms O'CONNOR - I know you'd love for there to be but is there any -

Mr JAENSCH - No, there isn't and I don't want ways around it. I'm very happy that every project that is undertaken in Tasmania goes by the book and is assessed under all relevant acts and regulations. That's how it should be.

Ms O'CONNOR - As you are aware, the Samuel's report that looked at the efficacy of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act found that it is severely lacking in its capacity to protect the environment and threatened species. What has been the role of the Coordinator-General in facilitating that windfarm on an internationally-significant shore bird and migratory bird habitat?

Mr JAENSCH - I will ask Mr Perry to comment on that but I will preface it by saying that he is not an environmental regulator. He has no role in those assessment and approvals processes, outside of his role as facilitator of investment projects for Tasmania.

Mr PERRY - The only comment I would make is that we were engaged with the landowner in relation to their engagement of finding investors and then we have been engaged with them since but, as the minister has said, we have had no role in relation to their assessment process.