Tasmania increasing its reliance on renewable energy from 100 per cent to 200 per cent, and exporting the surplus to the mainland through additional Bass Strait cables, is commendable. To that end I welcome in principle the announcement today that the Federal Government has reached agreements with Tasmania and Victoria on the funding of the Marinus Link interconnector.
But, as always, the devil will be in the detail and it’s now important that the Federal and Tasmanian governments release all the detail for public scrutiny.
The community needs to know for sure that the cost of Marinus will not be unfair to Tasmanian taxpayers and Tasmanian electricity consumers. Tasmanian Energy and Renewables Minister Guy Barnett says it’s a good deal and that Tasmanian customers will pay no more than 15 per cent of the project’s costs. But what is the rationale for this? And what will the net effect be on power bills? Tasmanians will not accept subsidising the supply of electricity to the mainland.
Moreover the community needs to understand the environmental impact of Marinus. Yes, Australia must quickly replace coal and gas with renewables. But it must be achieved sensibly, and not in a way that unacceptably trashes Tasmania’s priceless natural environment.