Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022; Second Reading
I move Greens amendment on sheet 1751:
At the end of the motion, add ", but the Senate:
(a) is of the opinion that:
(i) building a circular economy is a key component of climate action,
(ii) decommissioning of infrastructure must be undertaken in a way that is environmentally sustainable, and
(iii) the technology to recycle and reuse the components of wind turbines exists now; and
(b) calls on the Government to:
(i) develop robust regulations for the safe and sustainable decommissioning of offshore wind turbine infrastructure, and
(ii) ensure that future regulations prevent the decommissioning of wind turbine infrastructure to landfill".
This amendment at least puts some structure around the government working with the offshore electricity industry to make sure that the infrastructure in our oceans is properly recycled. It is especially to ensure that the blades of these wind turbines, which are made from a number of composite materials, aren't sent to landfill but are designed for their end of life. There are companies like Siemens in Germany that are producing fully recyclable wind turbine blades. The impacts of the renewable energy industry, whether it's on wildlife, biodiversity, communities or climate action, are part of the solution to tackle this rapid transition to zero emissions that we need. But these industries also need to take their environmental responsibility seriously—in fact, I think they should take it more seriously than other industries because they are setting an example for what we need to be doing.
The Greens's amendment is fairly simple and pretty straightforward. I would hope that many of the renewable energy companies out there would agree with the Greens. I think most of my fellow senators would agree that now is the time to be doing this, especially as we are debating a bill in which one of the amendments to the Customs Act looks at antidumping and how we issue licences and the conditions attached to those licences associated with operating in these new areas that we're opening up in our oceans. I have a very strong personal view, as does my party, that we should be leading, when we pass this type of legislation, on building a circular economy. I would like to see the offshore renewable energy electricity industry as a shining light that is leading on that. They could show that they are thinking about a circular economy, they are thinking about a zero-waste economy, they are thinking about designing their products for the end of their life and they are setting an example for so many other industries that also need to do this. We will no doubt vote on this amendment, and the Greens will be supporting this legislation today.