Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Tasmania: Environmental Conservation
That the Senate notes:
(a) the Robbins Passage - Boullanger Bay wetlands complex in Tasmania has been repeatedly assessed as being of global significance, including by the International Union for Conservation of Nature;
(b) these wetlands are a critical part of the global flyway that stretches from Australia through eastern Asia to north of the Arctic Circle in Siberia, and support numerous rare and critically endangered bird species;
(c) these wetlands fulfil criteria for eligibility to be listed under the Ramsar Convention to protect wetlands of international significance;
(d) previous attempts to have this area Ramsar listed were supported by the Federal Government, however, were not progressed by the Tasmanian state government due to opposition from a few local landowners, who are potential financial beneficiaries of proposed developments in the area;
(e) in their EPBC submission, proponents of the UPC wind farm noted their project 'will potentially intersect the nationally important Boulanger Bay - Robbins Passage wetland' but that the wetlands 'are not matters of national environmental significance for the purposes of environmental approvals'; and
(f) if Ramsar listed, the area must be reviewed under any EPBC assessment.
Labor opposes this motion because it is not helpful for the Senate to set itself up as the arbiter of individual projects motion by motion. Rather than playing wedge politics, Labor advocates for the comprehensive protection of the environment and for secure jobs, and we are calling on the Morrison government to introduce strong national environmental standards, to establish a genuinely independent cop on the beat for Australia's environment and to fix the explosion in job and investment delays caused by their massive funding cuts to the department. Labor is the only party that will protect jobs and the environment.
One Nation opposes this motion that highlights the hypocrisy of green wind power. The Robbins Island development will place 122 wind turbines on pristine coast land in north-west Tasmania. I can understand Senator Whish-Wilson's concerns at having 122 bird choppers sitting in the middle of a bird sanctuary. What could go wrong? Green jobs do exist, even if the only skill required is the ability to use a bucket and a spade. Robbins Island will generate power where we don't need it, then use a 115-kilometre high-voltage powerline to bring intermittent power into the grid. This transmission line will carve its way through sensitive coastal saltmarsh. The problem with this development is not only the avian carnage; Tasmanian devils are native to the area. Their habitat will be dug up to install the bases for the wind turbines and will then be covered in 30,000 tonnes of concrete. How green is that? It's time to put a stop to this green energy madness.