Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022


Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022; Second Reading

10:36 am

Photo of Karen GroganKaren Grogan (SA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to also support the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, strangely enough. We've heard a lot of conversation in some contributions this morning, so let me be clear about what this bill is actually going to do.

The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill amends the Customs Act 1901 to ensure that, following the recent commencement of the Offshore Electricity Act, the goods and vessels that enter or exit the coast in relation to offshore electricity infrastructure are appropriately regulated. The bill is also amending the OEI Act to primarily accommodate a recent change in the Administrative Arrangement Orders, which might otherwise impact the powers and identity of the Offshore Infrastructure Registrar.

While that doesn't sound like the sexiest paragraph in the universe, it actually is a significant step towards structural change. As Senator Hanson-Young was referring to previously, we have seen, over a significant period of time, close to a decade, challenges in this area and a lack of action. So we are making this change to ensure that we can build this industry that we know has the opportunity to be quite transformational. It is quite a transformational piece of work. We've seen a lot of activity across Europe, and now the United States are also investing very heavily in offshore wind. These changes allow us to invest in that industry and to open up the opportunity for the building of those wind farms offshore to build up our electricity grid.

Our commitment to 82 per cent renewables in electricity by 2030 is a solid commitment that is going to make a difference, and this kind of change will open up this industry to new jobs, to new investment and to a greener, cleaner future, a future where we know that there are better jobs and that this is the pathway we need to take not just for ourselves in Australia but as a global citizen addressing issues of climate change. We cannot keep acting the way we've been acting, but we can do it by building new opportunities, new industries and new jobs. That is exactly what this kind of legislation will open up opportunities for.

Offshore wind, like I said, is very popular across Europe and is building significantly year on year. It is a stronger, more consistent wind source and is more abundant than onshore wind. It also deals with a lot of the issues that people have raised regarding onshore farms, which absolutely have a place and a role to play, but the offshore wind farms provide, as I say, an extra, stronger and more consistent source of electricity that we'll be able to pump into the grid, the new grid, the grid that we're upgrading and making more efficient so that we can provide cheaper, cleaner electricity to households across Australia while also boosting jobs and building new industries that we can be proud of.

We can transfer our economy. We can transform our energy system. We can move towards a clean energy future. We can embrace the opportunities that our natural environment has, and we can work, as Senator Hanson-Young pointed out, in partnership with anybody who wants to play and in partnership with our environment. We can make a better future, and this bill takes us part of the way there. Like my colleague, Senator Hanson-Young, said, we will be delighted to work more closely with the opposition for a stronger and cleaner energy future. We're looking forward to that.

Senator Duniam, thank you very much. And with that I will commend the bill to the Senate.


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