House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2020



7:55 pm

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (New England, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I was thinking about giving the member for Sydney an extension of time so she'd get to thanking me, but that's fine. I thank her for the job she's done, and I concur with her remarks about all the things that people have done.

More and more in my electorate and, might I suggest, in so many others there's a movement starting. It started with a few but it's growing. It started with people from a disparate group, and now I see that even people such as Dr Bob Brown and former senator Christine Milne are part of it. I'm part of it. There are senior people around the countryside who are part of it. It's strange for us all to be drawn together, and it would be even stranger if I told you what it is. It's the movement against wind towers. People are getting sick of them. They are an encroachment, a complete encroachment, into people's private lives. Do you realise that, at 270 metres, the tip of these blades is only slightly lower than Centrepoint Tower in Sydney? We have good people who do not feel they have the power to protest. They feel they are removed from the power to do something about these issues, about these 'things' as they call them. These good people have to look out the windows of places where they have resided in quiet enjoyment—I note the member for Isaacs there; he knows that term very well—and now have to deal with the prospect of seeing their environment turned into an industrial area against their will, without their say so. Certainly, the beneficiary of it is where those towers reside, but that's not them. If someone were to say, 'I'm going to put 270-metre high statues of bananas to encourage you to eat fruit,' even though bananas are a herb, people would say there was something wrong with that: 'Surely I have some buy-in with this.'

It has become even more evident after the New South Wales Liberal Party minister Matt Keane passed a piece of legislation saying that they would close down four more coal-fired power stations and replace them with renewables, which will undoubtedly be wind towers. Wind towers would mean close to 700,000 hectares. That's in excess of 1.5 million acres of further country in New South Wales that would be dedicated to wind turbines, which, to be frank, cannot do the job. They just can't do it. They do not have 24/7 reliability. Let's just leave it at that. So it doesn't matter whether you're at Ben Lomond, in the community I was speaking to the other day, or at Nundle, Kentucky, Clarks Creek, Crookwell or at Rylstone, the movement is growing. They're not coordinated yet, but they're getting coordinated and they're asking to be represented. They're asking that Australians in the Australian parliament stand up against a thing that is 100 per cent imported from overseas, 70 per cent owned by foreign entities and unable to do the job of the power unit it's removing.

We have a dilemma in this nation, and this is it. I'm not a great, religious believer in a carboniferous item, being coal. I'm a great believer in power. But what's happening now is we're saying we can't have coal. We can't even mention the word; we can't say it. We can't have nuclear because of Chernobyl. That was 1954 Soviet technology. If you've driven around in a 1954 Soviet car, you know what that's like. You can't have gas, because that's fracking. You can't have wind towers, because of what I'm dealing with and I have great sympathy for, which is the complete encroachment on other people's lives. If you have solar you've got to have backup, which means you've got to dam rivers to put in pumped hydro, and they don't want that. So the only alternative is that we live in a cave. So I'm telling you to go back to the obvious one, which is highly efficient low-emission ultra-supercritical coal-fired power, because the alternative is the further encroachment on the rights of people and the capacity of the economy.

House adjourned at 20:00