Monday, 27 November 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. In the Senate, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has stated:
We certainly acknowledge that renewable energy infrastructure will impact on a significant amount of land within Australia …
Minister, how many hectares of native vegetation will be destroyed by renewable energy projects facilitated to meet the government's target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030?
Of course, renewable energy projects—solar farms, wind farms, transmission lines and hydroelectricity—will all be assessed in the same way that any other project will be assessed under our environmental laws. Whether it is a new housing development, whether it is a road, whether it is a rail project or whether it is a transmission line, it will be assessed in the same way. And, of course, if they have unacceptable impacts on the environment, they will be refused, as any other project would be. The Leader of the National Party has asked how many hectares. Of course, that depends on which projects. We're at the very beginning of a—
The Leader of the Nationals is interjecting with the most ridiculous interjections. There is no way of knowing a number of hectares until we know which projects will be approved.
Right now, I have over 100 renewable energy projects before me. We have approved, as a government, about 10 times as many renewable energy projects as other energy projects.
We continue to approve and support renewable energy projects, because we know the biggest difference we can make to the environment for this country and for our planet is to move effectively to zero net emissions. I'm very proud of the fact that this government has a serious energy program, in contrast to those opposite, who had two dozen different energy programs and didn't deliver a single one of them. We will continue to work with renewable energy proponents, with local communities, to make sure we get this right so that we can transition to a renewable energy economy while protecting our environment at the same time.