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Underground Coal Mine - Fingal Valley

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 29 September 2022

Tags: Hydrogen, Coal


The proposal to construct an underground coal mine in Fingal would dig up 1 million tonnes of coal a year to be transported to Bell Bay and create hydrogen. The mine's proponent claims this entire process will be zero emissions, and has called the end product 'green hydrogen'. That is a ludicrous and disturbing attempt at greenwashing. The science is clear: digging up coal releases masses amounts of methane gas, with a terrible climate impact.

During Estimates this year, you said -

We want Tasmanian businesses to stamp their product as 100 per cent clean electricity to give certainty to businesses investing in Tasmania. Their product has a competitive advantage.

Do you stand by your words and condemn this black hydrogen threat to our clean brand?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. The Premier has outlined in great detail, in a comprehensive manner, the Government's response to an earlier question on a very similar related matter.

I remind the member and those in the Chamber that the mining lease in the Fingal Valley to which you refer was granted under the previous Labor Greens government. The Leader of the Greens was sitting in that government.

The Premier has made it very clear that the mining process has to go through a standard, rigorous planning and approval process. The minister for Resources knows that full well, and Minerals Resources Tasmania has a process they have to go through.

Having said that, it is absolutely clear that this Government is locked into our renewable hydrogen action plan. I was at Bell Bay with the current Treasurer when we launched that action plan many years ago now. It is all about renewable hydrogen. It is all about green hydrogen. That is our vision and that is our plan. I am pleased and proud that we have secured federal government support for Bell Bay as the green hydrogen hub for Tasmania, for Australia. It is not just a hydrogen hub, it is the green hydrogen hub. This is for Tasmania, for Australia. We have locked in $70 million of support to match our support here in Tasmania. This is the result of hard work and commitment. This is a result of our vision for renewable energy.

Is there any renewable energy project in Tasmania that the Greens have supported? Is there one? Every one, they say, 'Oh, we support renewable energy'. Can we think of one? Every single time -

Ms O'Connor - Hang on a minute, we are talking to you about a black hydrogen process.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr BARNETT - we come forward with projects to promote and support our renewable energy future, the Greens oppose.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. Can we get some clarity from the minister about whether he believes this project is a green energy project?

Mr SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. The question has been put to the minister. As I have said, I do not know what the minister has to say in the future about it. He has the call.

Mr BARNETT - Mr Speaker, clearly there is a non answer from the Greens. There is zero. That is the big one - zero. The big doughnut, the big zero from the Greens in response. Was there one major renewable energy project in Tasmania that they have supported? Not one.

Our vision is for a renewable energy future that delivers more jobs, growth and opportunity. I have indicated that this process and this project to which the Greens refer has to go through a rigorous planning and approval process -

Dr WOODRUFF - Mr Speaker, point of order, relevance. I asked the minister whether he rejected black hydrogen which is what this project would have.

Mr SPEAKER - Again, points of order are not an opportunity to restate the question. The minister I am sure was aware of the question and he is answering it.

Mr BARNETT - It is not for the Greens to dictate the planning and approval process. Have they heard about HIF Global, 30 kilometres from the back of Burnie, and their plans for a renewable hydrogen industry based on Tasmania's clean renewable energy future and our vision? We have met with the chief executive officer, with the Premier and with my officers in recent months and they have a plan. It is very exciting and I want you to get behind that - another renewable energy project, talking about using hydrogen, in Tasmania and using our water resource, using our green electricity -

Dr Woodruff - Clean?

Mr BARNETT - 100 per cent. Why don't you spruik that?

Dr Woodruff - You are supporting a black hydrogen project.

Mr BARNETT - It is 100 per cent clean. Why don't the Greens spruik the 100 per cent clean electricity? We have a target now to 200 per cent. Why would you not support it?

Mr SPEAKER - If you could wind up, please minister.

Ms O'Connor - Okay, we are more confused. Backed in a black hydrogen project, amazing.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Silence in the Chamber.