You are here

Tasmanian Energy Sector

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 15 November 2023

Tags: Renewable Energy

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I want to bring us back to why we are talking about energy. We are talking about energy because we are talking about renewable energy, or at least that is what the Greens are talking about. The Labor and Liberal parties are interested in talking about energy as jobs and corporate support, money for big corporates and their donor interests. That is the kind of prism through which the Labor Party and the Liberal Party look at energy in Australia. They look at the fossil fuel corporations. We had Senator Penny Wong only last week attacking the Liberal Party for saying no to Santos and Woodside. She was standing in parliament and attacking the Liberal Party for not opening up and doing everything that those major fossil fuel corporations want, so let us not pretend that the Labor Party along with the Liberal Party nationally and in Tasmania are not joined at the hip with the interests of large corporations, whether they be fossil fuel corporations or large-scale international renewable corporations.

Where the Greens are coming from is that we are in a climate crisis and we are in a biodiversity crisis. Both of those things mean that we need to look first and foremost at bringing down emissions in Tasmania that we already emit from sectors that are growing every single day. I want to speak for a moment about the work of Rachel Hay from the Tasmanian Australia Institute. She wrote a piece this week saying Tasmania's draft transport sector emissions reduction and resilience plan reveals a frightening lack of commitment to reducing emissions and preventing the worst effects of climate change. She could not be clearer. She wrote:

To achieve and maintain the target of net zero by 2030 in the Climate Change Act, lutruwita/Tasmania needs to reduce its continued emissions. The transport sector at 21 per cent of gross emissions provides opportunities for immediate abatement.

The Tasmanian Government legislated to develop plans to decarbonise the sector by November 2030, and at Climate Tasmania they expected to see that the plan would see the Tasmanian Government follow other states and territories and commit to policies that reduce transport sector emissions.

When they read the plan, which is open for consultation until the end of next week, they were shocked to see that it was only a plan in name and makes no further commitments that will reduce emissions in the transport sector, merely identifying current actions and future opportunities. I want to correct the record. Ms Hay works with Climate Tasmania, not the Australia Institute.

They make the incredibly important point that that is what we are trying to do here. We are trying to reduce emissions and we are trying to protect environmental values that are utterly threatened by the heating of the planet and by habitat destruction. When we look at what both the Labor and Liberal parties are doing in Tasmania, we can see that that is why we are in the spot we are in, where we have the Liberal Party doing deals behind closed doors for billions of dollars of taxpayer money on the Marinus Link that we do not know about. We do not know how much it is going to cost us as taxpayers now, let alone how much it is going to cost us in our power bill increases into the future.

The we have the Labor Party baying the Liberals to go harder, stronger, to chop down more of the north-west threatened forest communities, to go into to what should be protected agricultural areas and to basically have an open-slather, open industrialisation of the north and the north-west. We have no doubt that what the Labor Party are really about here is trying to talk big on investment and trying to talk big like they know what would be good for Tasmania in the future.

We are speaking for children and young people today who want a future on a habitable planet and that means bringing down emissions that we can deal with, and we need a government that is planning for the renewable energy transition, and this Government has not planned for renewable energy. We have a situation with the Robbins Island wind farm, a wind farm in the worst place in the planet, where the critically endangered far-eastern curlew, the curlew sandpiper, the great knot and the orange-bellied parrot are all being threatened by this wind farm. I have been and seen those birds in their thousands and thousands, flocks of them coming from the Arctic and Siberia. They come across the southern hemisphere to make Robbins Island and Boullanger Bay their summer home, and what would happen is that the place they rest, breed and nest in would be turned into an industrial site.

There are places for wind farms in Tasmania. There are renewable energy opportunities, just like the 300 megawatts that is planned to be produced on already cleared land at Connorville. We have the Cattle Hill and Granville wind farms that are up and going and they work, but there has been no planning under the Liberals at all, and what I hear instead is that they have asked Parks to do an assessment as part of the renewable energy zone approvals process. It is important to have the planning, but they have asked Parks to do an assessment of all their reserve areas and grade them from 1-5. It is deeply concerning that all the reserves are in the category, rather than looking at opportunities to reduce emissions that we know we have from transport and other areas, as well as providing real opportunities for planning in places that are suitable, and for having smaller-scale, diversified renewable energy next to the areas where they need to be used.