Senate debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022


Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022; Second Reading

10:13 am

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Environment, Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | | Hansard source

It's my pleasure to rise to make a contribution on behalf of the opposition on the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

Offshore energy infrastructure has the potential to create significant investment and job creation opportunities, as well as to contribute to Australia's future energy security. That is why, when in government, the coalition delivered on a 2019 election commitment and passed legislation to enable the development of offshore electricity energy infrastructure and to provide industry with the certainty needed to invest in Australian offshore electricity infrastructure projects. That bill, the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021, established a regulatory framework that covered all phases of development, from construction through to decommissioning of generation and transmission projects.

In the 2020-21 budget, the then government invested $4.8 million into development of the legislative framework, including providing $2.9 million of seed funding for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority and the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator to develop policy, regulations, guidelines and advice to industry. Additionally, we provided $1.9 million to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and Geoscience Australia for legal advice, marine spatial data collection, public consultation and drafting of regulations. These actions were part of the coalition's energy policy that kept the lights on and—especially important now—kept prices low. Households and businesses rely on affordable, reliable power to grow and to thrive, and, as I said, this is now more important than ever. In government we took decisive action to deliver affordable, reliable energy for Australian consumers. That means having an affordable, reliable, 24/7 supply of electricity. That plan was working. Under the coalition, electricity prices dropped to an eight-year low. When Labor was last in government, household electricity costs doubled. Labor's back in power now and electricity prices are again on the rise.

Since coming to government, the Albanese government have failed Australian people on energy. In the less than six months since they came to power, the government have walked away from a promise to the Australian people to reduce household energy bills by $275. I know, from my home state of Tasmania, that that was an important promise made by the government but one that has been completely abandoned. They demonised important gas projects that, rather than competing with renewables, actually complemented them. They guillotined the Energy Security Board's capacity mechanism and took the extraordinary intervention of suspending the wholesale spot market, which shook the market and cost energy users more than $200 million. But what else would we expect from a government that doesn't understand the difference between the wholesale price of energy and the retail price of energy?

The government's 2022-23 budget shows that Australians can expect a 50 per cent increase in their energy bills and a 40 per cent increase in their gas bills in 2023 alone. This could be as much as $1,092 for some households and $2,450 for some small businesses, and an increase in gas bills of $602. It is truly chilling, quite frankly, when you look at the numbers. Wholesale prices are currently $100 more in New South Wales than at the same time last year. Our expert energy bodies forecast reliability gaps and energy security risks for the next decade. Industry experts have also called the current energy transition a 'train wreck'. Alinta's CEO, Jeff Dimery, said, 'I think we're headed for failure unless things change significantly.' EnergyAustralia's CEO, Mark Collette, said, 'I am more concerned about a smooth energy transition than a year ago.'

Minister Bowen told the AFR energy summit that to deliver Labor's 82 per cent Renewable Energy Target by 2030 the country will require 40 seven-megawatt wind turbines every month until the year 2030. It also will need more than 22,000 500-watt panels to be installed every day, and 60 million of these panels by 2030. Labor also plans to carpet our regions with up to 28,000 kilometres of poles and wires through prime Australian agricultural land to connect these projects to the grid. Every dollar spent on transmission has to be repaid by the consumers, ultimately through higher electricity bills.

Labor promised over and over that they would reduce electricity prices by $275, as I've already said. At the launch of their $275-cut policy, Labor made their promise and then repeated it and underlined it 96 times over. On a total of 97 occasions since early December, Labor has made this promise a centrepiece of its bid for government. But Labor is putting us on a path not only to huge hikes in electricity and gas bills but also to less reliability of energy supply. Quite clearly, Labor simply can't be trusted to deliver sensible energy policy.

On the issue of social licence, the opposition, when in government, understood the importance of local communities granting a social licence to build major renewables projects, including transmission lines, that may have an impact on the community, properties and the way of life of residents. Sadly, though, this government does not understand it.

It's good to have Senator Hanson-Young here!

Photo of Catryna BilykCatryna Bilyk (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Hanson-Young, your turn is next.

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Environment, Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm looking forward to it! The coalition is deeply concerned. The government is supercharging its renewable vision with little to no regard for Australia's regional towns and communities.

On the issue of community consultation, offshore energy technology, such as wind, could provide Australia with new investment and jobs growth, particularly in coastal regional communities. It is, however, important to ensure that this does not come at a cost for, or negatively impact on, those regional communities that have been identified and declared as suitable for offshore renewable energy infrastructure.

A key part of our legislation was community consultation and, by association, gaining a social licence before an area could be declared as suitable. Careful and ongoing consultation in regulating offshore electricity infrastructure is critical given the deep connection Australians have with the ocean and existing offshore industries. It's critically important to manage the marine environment in a way that recognises all users. This includes local communities and recreational users. Our government included a minimum 60-day public consultation period on a declared zone to ensure people could have their say on any proposed area.

In terms of location, another inclusion was locating turbines and other assets beyond three nautical miles from the coast in Commonwealth waters to help address the amenity concerns associated with some onshore renewable projects.

On the issue of the declaration of zones, the minister has renounced the former coalition government's prioritisation of the Bass Strait for Australia's first offshore wind development. The former coalition government approved Australia's first wind exploration licence in the Bass Strait in 2019, and in 2021 it legislated a framework to unlock investment while ensuring coastal communities and sea users' rights were respected. It's essential that any development has strong community support, and I encourage all potential project developers to put in the groundwork needed to secure that support.

While consultation is welcome, Mr Bowen still has no plan to support investment in the reliable generation needed to keep the lights on and, importantly, to get prices down. That's why this government has already abandoned its election promise to cut household power bills by that magic number of $275 by the end of its first term.

The bill makes a number of minor amendments to the act. While the amendments are mostly noncontroversial, and the coalition supports the ongoing development of Australia's offshore wind industry, a notable amendment is that the minister, rather than the regulator, will be given the power to decide what forms and amounts of financial security licence holders must provide and when these obligations must cease under regulations. The coalition believes the proposed amendment that allows the minister, rather than the regulator, to make decisions in relation to matters relating to the financial security of licence holders risks emboldening the government's plan to accelerate the rollout of renewable projects without sufficient community consultation or, importantly, without a social licence and therefore will mean easier terms for licence holders than otherwise would be granted under an independent authority. This is a matter that the coalition will be paying close attention to.

10:23 am

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to speak in favour of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. The Greens will be supporting this bill put forward by the government because it is an important step forward to ensure that we can transition to a cleaner, greener economy and to ensure that we are investing all of our efforts in the production of renewable energy.

But let me mention at the outset the sheer hypocrisy from the other side. We have just heard the representative from Mr Dutton's side of government, the opposition, the Liberal Party, trying to criticise someone else when it comes to having an energy policy in this country. His mob were in charge for nearly a decade, and we had chop and change, chop and change, chop and change the whole way through on energy policy. Do you want to know why Australians' electricity bills are so damn high right now? It is because of the incompetence of those who were in charge for the last nine years. They did nothing to reduce carbon pollution, they did nothing to reduce people's power bills and, in fact, what they did do was stand in the way and make it harder and harder for industry to develop and deliver what we know is the cheapest form of energy. We know that new renewable projects deliver cheaper power for everyone because the facts are absolutely clear and the numbers don't lie.

That is why this bill is important—in fact, it is absolutely essential. It's also important because, alongside this piece of legislation to establish more offshore wind power in Australia, is the fact that the environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, has today released the State of the Climate 2022 report. We should not be surprised by the statistics and the findings in this report, but we should be alarmed. Our climate is in absolute crisis. Climate change is here—it is happening, we are living with it. It is devastating our homes and our livelihoods, and it is putting people's lives at risks. It is already wreaking havoc on life as we know it here in Australia. The State of the Climate report shows that we've already increased temperatures here in Australia by an average of 1.47 degrees. We have a global effort designed to keep temperature increases at 1.5 degrees globally, and already Australia is nearly at that level. It is having a devastating impact on our environment, our communities and our economy.

The State of the Climate 2022 report shows that we are going to have more extreme weather. There are going to be more damaging floods, there are going to be worsening droughts and there is going to be bushfire intensity that we have never seen before. The climate has changed, and we have to face up to the reality that we have to drastically reduce pollution if we are to try to hold back the very worst changes, which are yet to come. Our oceans are in crisis. The State of the Climate 2022 report shows that our oceans, particularly our reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef, are some of the most vulnerable reefs in the world. The bleaching events that are devastating the Great Barrier Reef are making it harder and harder for the reef to recover because of the frequency of these events, and these events are only going to get worse.

Our climate is in crisis, and rather than bickering from the other side about how quickly or slowly we should move from fossil fuels to renewables, we just have to get on with it. Our climate is in crisis, and we have to get off the gas and get off the coal. That is the truth, and we do that by investing in renewable energy. We do that by investing in a smart grid. We do that by making sure that we transition our entire economy to one that is based on ensuring a clean, green outcome.

This particular bill is largely technical in the aspects of creating an offshore wind industry in Australia, but it is essential for Australia to get off fossil fuels and to make sure we tackle climate pollution. We won't be able to build the zero-emissions export economy for Australia that we know we need without offshore wind. It is essential. The scale and potential for clean energy growth is massive, so while we are dealing with this climate crisis, which is already devastating homes and livelihoods, we also have a massive opportunity if we are willing to take it with both hands. For instance, the Star of the South project proposed for South Gippsland in Victoria will be big enough to replace the Yallourn brown coal fired power station, the dirtiest power station in the country. Let's get on with it, let's do it—in fact, it should have been done some time in the last decade. But now is not the time to delay. These offshore wind projects will power Australia's new industries, and that's why Portland in Victoria, the Hunter in Newcastle and Gladstone in Queensland are all target sites. They can transform existing deepwater port regions into export green steel, hydrogen, ammonia and fertilisers that have zero gas in them. That is essential for transforming our entire economy, for decarbonising our economy. And if we don't do it, climate change is only going to get worse—the climate crisis will become more and more devastating. So let's grab with both hands the opportunity to transform our economy, to get more investment in Australia and to reduce the pollution that is harming our environment.

It is important, with all of these new industries, that we tread carefully to ensure that the public is brought along. There are already signs of concern about some of the proposals in Gippsland impacting on existing treasures like Wilsons Promontory. I remember camping at the Wilsons Promontory campgrounds as a kid over summer. It is a stunningly beautiful area and we need to protect it. We need to balance these areas. We need to make sure we are protecting nature while at the same time investing in the transformation of the decarbonisation that we need. And you can do that: you can talk to community, you can respect local traditional owners and you can make sure you bring people along, but you do it with transparency, you do it with clarity and you do it with purpose. You don't do it with the raw politics that we've seen from the Liberal and National parties for the last nine years. We will be keeping a close eye on the projects as they come through to make sure the communities are being consulted and the environment is being looked after. We want to make sure that not only are we getting a net gain on an investment in renewables, cheaper power prices for Australians, and an export industry that we can be proud of and that can power our national economy, but also that we're still protecting the areas that are so beautiful and that make Australia the great country that it is.

We are worried about the impact on migratory birds, and we'll be making sure that the EPBC legislation—that is, the environment laws of this country—is strong enough to protect migratory birds and our endangered animals and wildlife as these projects are being discussed. You can do these things in harmony if you do it right, with transparency and with purpose. This bill is an important step forward. I'm not going to stand here in this place today and hear the sheer hypocrisy from the other side, who have done nothing to protect the environment, nothing to reduce pollution and nothing to reduce power bills. If they want to step up to the plate now and work with all sides of the parliament to make sure we do get a proper decarbonisation agenda running in this country that balances renewable energy, care for the environment and respect of the community, then okay, I'll start listening to them. But at this point it is sheer politics. It's as if the Liberal and National parties think the rest of us have amnesia. Well, we don't. When you read the State of the climate report, it is shocking that we are at a point where we are nearly seeing 1.5 degrees warming in this country, yet we still have the Leader of the Opposition arguing against proper targets to reduce pollution, against global ambition to tackle climate change and, earlier this week, against those in the Pacific being given some assistance to deal with the loss and damage caused by climate change. If this is the position and the direction that the Liberal and National parties are going to continue down, they'll lose more seats at the next election.

In my home state, I know South Australians are deeply worried about the impact that climate change is having right now. They are worried about what happens when the next drought hits. They are worried about the state of the Murray-Darling Basin. They are worried that the head of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority said only yesterday that there would be 30 per cent less water in the Murray-Darling Basin because of climate change. South Australians know that we have to take this issue seriously, and we cannot delay it any further. When they hear members of the Liberal Party saying that it can still just get kicked down the road, see them playing grubby politics over climate change or hear the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, suggest that our friends in the Pacific can simply drown on their own without the support and help of Australia in terms of a global effort to combat climate change and to help fund a loss and damage contribution, I wonder how many Liberal members in South Australia will continue to hold their seats.

The Liberal Party have totally missed the message from this election. Australians voted in huge numbers in this election for climate action—more than ever before—and you never hear a peep out of the Liberal-National coalition since then about what they are doing to change their policies to reflect the will of the Australian people. All you hear is petty politics, gutter politics and an excuse that it was somebody else's fault. They were in charge for 10 years, and they did nothing. Now we have the worst State of the Climate report that this country has ever seen because our environment and our climate is in crisis. So I'm glad they're finally voting for something to help reduce carbon pollution, but, boy oh boy, it has taken them a long bloody time to get here.

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.

10:41 am

Photo of David VanDavid Van (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak on Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. Like many things in this place, it is a great piece of coalition legislation that the out-of-touch Labor senators opposite want to transform into something that hurts communities more than helps. Don't get me wrong: nobody is a bigger supporter of offshore renewable electricity than myself. Unlike the Prime Minister, I went to COP27 in Egypt last week, where I heard firsthand how offshore wind will be one of the many technologies required for Australia's and other countries' transition to a net zero economy. And I welcome Minister Bowen's move to join the Global Alliance for Offshore Wind, which aims to see 380 gigawatts of offshore infrastructure built around the world by 2030. Right now, there are only 60 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity around the world. Of those 60 gigawatts, not one is produced in Australia. However, in the last parliament we did enable the legislation for that to commence.

Despite being a country that boasts of our bountiful beaches, with one of the largest shorelines in the world, there is not one offshore wind project in our whole country, and the research about this is conclusive: we have an exceptionally strong capacity for offshore wind, especially in my home state of Victoria, where the first project is likely to be built. According to recent studies, the technical offshore wind resource was estimated to be 2,233 gigawatts, an amount far in excess of current and projected electricity demand in Australia. If we exploited just two per cent of Australia's technical offshore wind resource, we would provide nearly double the entire generation capacity currently in the NEM, according to leading experts.

Offshore energy infrastructure has the potential to create significant investment and job-creation opportunities, contributing to Australia's future energy security, and is key to our path to becoming a country that reaches net zero emissions by 2050. More importantly, it doesn't disrupt communities and destroy usable agricultural land or the natural environment. That is why, when in government, the coalition delivered on a 2019 election commitment and passed legislation to enable the development of offshore electricity infrastructure and provide the industry with the certainty needed to invest in offshore energy infrastructure projects.

The Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 established a regulatory framework that intended to support the development of this sector in Commonwealth waters. It established a regulatory framework to enable the construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore electricity infrastructure in the Commonwealth offshore area. The bill included the key offshore electricity infrastructure instruments like offshore wind farms, as well as tidal, wave, rain, solar and geothermal power generation, as well as the necessary transmission facilities to bring it ashore.

In the 2020-21 budget the former coalition government invested $4.8 million to develop the legislative framework, which included $2.9 million as seed funding for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, NOPSEMA, and the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator to develop policy, regulations, guidelines and industry advice, as well as $1.9 billion to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and Geoscience Australia for legal advice, marine spatial data collection, public consultation and drafting of regulations.

This action was part of the coalition's energy policy that kept the lights on and the prices low. Households and businesses rely on affordable, reliable power to grow and thrive. In government we took decisive action to deliver affordable, reliable energy for Australian consumers. By that we mean having an affordable, reliable, 24/7, 365-day supply of electricity. And, I might say, our plan was working. Under the Morrison government renewable energy generation grew by 360 per cent in both wind and solar. We also reduced annual carbon emissions by 77 million tonnes. And power prices were going down.

Of course, we're seeing now prices going up. It's no surprise, because power prices always go up under Labor governments. Let's not forget that in the last disastrous six years of Labor government power prices doubled and went up each and every year. Since coming to power, Mr Albanese and Mr Bowen have failed the Australian people on energy. In less than six months of coming into power the government has walked away from its election promise to the Australian people to reduce household energy bills by $275.

Those opposite might have forgotten, but I remind them that this wasn't a once off promise. The Prime Minister promised Australians 97 times before the election that he would reduce power bills by $235 a year. But budget estimates show power prices rising by 56 per cent—a price that many Australian businesses and families simply will not be able to afford. These numbers aren't just statistics. The increases in energy prices and gas prices have been estimated to cost $1,092 for some households and $2,450 for small businesses, with increase in gas bills of $602. They have been spending their time in government demonising important gas projects. Rather than competing with renewables, complement them.

Let's not forget taking the extraordinary intervention of suspending the wholesale electricity spot market, which shook the market to its core and cost energy users more than $200 million. With all of these massive failures in such a short amount of time, it would appear the only truthful thing the Prime Minister has said is that his government has hit the ground running. But don't just take my word for it. Energy experts across Australia are calling the Albanese government's energy transition a train wreck. Alinta CEO Jeff Dimery said, 'I think where headed for failure unless things change significantly.' EnergyAustralia's CEO Mark Collette said, 'I am more concerned about a smooth energy transition than a year ago.'

Offshore energy technologies such as wind could provide Australia with new investment and job growth, particularly in coastal regional communities. It is, however, more important to ensure this does not come at a cost or negatively impact those regional communities that have been identified and declared as suitable for offshore energy infrastructure. A key part of our legislation was community consultation and, by association, gaining a social licence for these projects before an area can be declared as suitable. On the road to net zero we need to be working with our communities, not working against them, if we want to meet our targets.

Careful and ongoing consultation and regulating offshore infrastructure is critical, given the deep connection Australians have with the ocean and existing offshore industries. It is critically important to manage the marine environment in a way that recognises all users. This includes local communities and recreational users. The coalition government included a minimum 60-day public consultation period on a declared zone, to ensure people can have their say on the proposed area.

Another inclusion was locating turbines and other assets beyond three nautical miles from the coast, to help address the amenity concerns associated with some onshore renewable projects—that is, not being an eyesore in our great environment. It is critical to the maintenance of our environmental and cultural capital that the wind turbines we build aren't going to impact peoples' day-to-day lives. This is one of the key benefits of offshore wind—for lack of a better word, it's 'out of sight and out of mind'. Constituents of the sunlit undulating hills of beautiful regional Australia are right to worry when they hear of wind energy projects going up in their backyard. As much as they are important for our energy transition, they can be very ugly. This brings me back to my original statement, about working with our communities—not working against them.

The government is also intent on spending billions of dollars on its Rewiring the Nation project. They should, however, be focused on building solar projects closer to where the energy is needed, rather than spending billions on changing the powerlines just to get a product to market. The government is intending to make a few amendments, most of which are uncontroversial and don't greatly affect the core intention of our previous bill—except for one important one. The government wants it to be the power of the minister, not the regulator, to decide what forms and amount of financial security licence holders must provide and when these obligations must cease under regulations.

This move leaves the process wide open for corruption. Our biggest wind energy companies in Australia are also some of the biggest donors in the country. When onshore wind and power projects often cost billions of dollars, there is the potential for misdealings. I won't try and impugn the intentions of any minister or company, but, with such lucrative projects going up, the coalition has always believed that the power to decide the levels of financial security that licence holders need should be in the hands of independent regulators not the partisan and political hands of the minister. I remember all the lectures we got from the other side on integrity when we were in government, so it's strange to see that they're walking back from that now.

Furthermore, when it comes to building our largest energy projects, it's important that the government gains social licence from the community they plan to build it in. Simply put, these projects will be going up in backyards, in communities, and they deserve a say in how they are built, where they are built and the safety precautions that need to be put in place. An independent regulator would ensure that communities have a say in these projects and that they are truly listened to. It would prevent a minister from firing off a project right before a by-election or delaying a project until it was politically advantageous to release it.

What matters is the energy needs of the country and the local needs of the community. That's what matters: making sure that we are working with our communities, not working against them.

10:54 am

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

This Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 before us deals with two amendments to the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act, which was passed in this chamber in 2021. The Greens supported that legislation and the principle of offshore wind energy, with caveats. I'll deal with those two amendments in a second, but I'll just provide the very important background to this legislation today, which is designed to help grease the wheels of this legislation and to develop an offshore electricity industry in this country.

It's very important that we transition rapidly to 100 per cent renewables, not just in Australia but all around the world. Of course, wind is going to play a major role in that—wind on the ocean, wind onshore is going to be a critical component of our grid going forward. But I will say that the Greens do have caveats on where we put wind farms, including in the ocean. These things have to be done in the right way. There's no doubt at all that wind farms do have some environmental impacts, with their footprints, for example, and the recyclability of their products being things that we should consider right here and right now.

But I want to talk about the context of that rapid transition to renewables, because I think there are some times in your life and in your career where you might look back on a moment and it hits you between the eyes. You say, 'Wow! Did that really happen? What did we do about it? What was my role in changing that?' I think that the release of the State of the climate 2022 report today by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology is going to be one of those moments in my life and also in the lives of a lot of people. It shows that we're in a deepening climate emergency and that things couldn't be any more serious.

The reason why I think today is so significant is because I've been part of a political movement which is about 50 years old and which got people into parliament to fight for the environment and a whole range of social justice and equity issues. One of the key things that we've been pushing for is to try to keep global warming to 1½ degrees. That's in line with international protocol: the Paris Agreement. Today, in the State of the climate 2022 report, we hear that in Australia we're already at 1.4 degrees of warming above levels from 1910. The Paris Agreement is trying to limit warming across the entire planet to 1.5 degrees, based on preindustrial levels. But here in Australia we're almost at that level and it's 2022—not 2050 or 2100. It's 2022, and we're nearly at 1.5 degrees of warming on this continent.

When we look at what's happening in our backyard, we've had three La Nina events in a row and two negative Indian Ocean dipoles in a row. That has never been recorded before. We've had some of the worst bushfires this country has ever seen in the last couple of years and just about every temperature record you could think of has been broken. We've had marine heatwaves and the loss of biodiversity in places like the Great Barrier Reef and off the coast of my beautiful state of Tasmania, where we have lost most of our giant kelp forests—critical habitat for our fisheries. And I could go on: droughts, pestilence and disruption to our supply chains in our agricultural communities. These things are all happening at 1.4 degrees of warming.

I just want to step through a couple of quick things that the state of the environment report said today, and there are some great articles that I recommend people read, including in both the Guardian and the Age today. It said that sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate; day- and night-time temperatures are rising; we're seeing record downpours, or deluges, in our rainfall patterns; glaciers in the west Antarctic are destabilised; glaciers and ice around the planet is melting; in our oceans we're seeing longer and more frequent heatwaves; and the acidification of our oceans by carbon dioxide is happening 10 times faster than at any time in our recorded history. We're seeing more heat, more droughts and more intense rainfalls.

What about the outlook? What do we know about the outlook from this report? Expect more misery, more suffering, more loss of biodiversity and more economic damage if we don't act. It was good to hear the government today in these reports—Mr Husic in the other place, and our environment minister, Ms Plibersek, in the other place—talk about taking climate action. But talk is cheap. What about the action that this government and previous governments have taken? Well, we've seen one piece of legislation since this new parliament has convened, to set a 43 per cent emissions reduction target that the science tells us will limit warming to two degrees.

An analysis by think tank Climate Analytics earlier this year said the government's commitment to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 found it was consistent with two degrees of warming. Mr Bowen, at COP27 in Egypt, specifically said that the difference between 1.5 and 1.7 degrees of warming for the planet was enormous and implored other nations to up their efforts to cut emissions. Mr Bowen also said:

If we're not trying to keep to 1.5 C, then what are we here for?

I would like to know why we only have legislation and ambition in this country to cut emissions that equate to two degrees of warming. You can understand why Mr Albanese yesterday, when he went to visit flood affected communities in New South Wales, was asked where he was and why he wasn't there earlier, supporting them in their darkest hour. And he said, 'I was overseas at international meetings.' You can see why people are getting sick and tired of talkfests.

The Paris protocol was set well over a decade ago. Why are we nearly exceeding that temperature in 2022 when we were supposed to be able to hold this planet's warming across all countries to 1.5 degrees by 2050? We're there nearly 30 years early. It's because we talk, and we don't act. We know we need to cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 to have any chance globally of meeting these targets. What is half a degree, you may ask? This is where I think it gets lost in the mire. If we're globally at one degree or 1.2 degrees, a two degrees warming is a hundred per cent increase. It's a 100 per cent increase of trapped heat in our atmosphere. Somehow, we think 1.5 degrees warming, which is a 50 per cent increase, is a good thing. Well, it's not.

You can look at a whole range of scientific information. It was interesting that Mr Husic was quoted in the papers this morning as saying, 'We listen to the science, and we act.' Well, the science tells us that the difference between 1½ and two degrees—for coral reefs, for example—is that, if we limit warming in our oceans and around the planet to 1½ degrees, we're going to see an expected 70 to 90 per cent decline in our coral reefs. If we limit warming to two degrees, expect to see a 99 per cent decline in the Great Barrier Reef and in the world's coral reefs. It couldn't be any more serious.

That is the backdrop to the legislation that we are debating today to facilitate offshore renewable energy and an offshore electricity industry. We support the rapid transition to renewables. We support stopping all new fossil fuel projects and phasing out fossil fuels.

It's estimated we have around 3,000 gigatonnes of fossil fuels already discovered on this planet, and, if we are to meet our carbon budget for Paris, we can only extract 500 of those gigatonnes in the next 50 years. And yet we're still out exploring for more oil and gas in our oceans. We are still giving public money to open up new fossil fuel projects in this country at the same time as our leaders are overseas talking about keeping global warming to 1½ degrees. It is bullshit, absolute and utter bullshit!

Photo of Andrew McLachlanAndrew McLachlan (SA, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Whish-Wilson, I'd appreciate it if you'd use parliamentary language. There are other ways you could use to express your passion.

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I appreciate that, but as you know Odgers says it's about the context of how you use language. I think at this time in history I'm allowed to be bloody angry, like many other people around this planet, with the lack of action from people, which is what we have in this chamber from leaders and politicians.

One thing that we know is good for the environment is recycling, and the government is talking a big game on recycling. I note that recently Minister Plibersek talked about putting the solar panel industry on a pathway of action on recycling. Today we have an opportunity before us to also talk about recycling in the offshore renewable energy industry because everything we produce should be produced for its end of life. We're seeing a number of turbines around this country coming to the end of their lives that will likely be sent to landfill, if we don't do something about it. Of course, we should be stipulating that in legislation today—and I would like to have moved substantive amendments to do this, but I understand the politics of this week and next week mean we will be getting through a lot of legislation, so I foreshadow that I will be moving a second reading amendment.

Photo of Andrew McLachlanAndrew McLachlan (SA, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

I ask you to move it now.

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

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.

11:09 am

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I am proud to rise to support this piece of legislation, the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. I do so as a former minister for resources who had some involvement in kicking off the process which has led us to this piece of legislation. This is largely a bill that has been reintroduced from the previous parliament. The previous government had been working for a number of years on updating our regulatory framework to specifically cover the investment and creation of offshore wind turbines. Until we pass this legislation, there is a bit of a gap in exactly where and how any investment in offshore wind would be regulated. We already do have significant regulatory arrangements in place for offshore oil and gas developments. As the minister for resources, I was responsible for those. They didn't specifically cater for offshore wind. There was generic environmental legislation that offshore wind investments could potentially come under.

Despite what you might read in reports, I am not against wind or solar energy. I am more than happy to support investments in all types of energy. I just believe in energy abundance. We should have lots of different types of energy. We should have wind. We should have solar. We should have coal. We should have gas. And, yes, we should have nuclear, too. It's only by having lots of energy that we will bring energy prices down, protect our heritage as a manufacturing nation and have a future for that manufacturing industry, too. So I am more than happy to support this bill which would provide a stable, proper and consistent regulatory framework for offshore wind investments.

Of course, as Senator Whish-Wilson has expressed, it's very important that they are regulated. Marine environments are largely pristine and need to be protected. There needs to be significant regulation on any large-scale investment in our marine areas. Those seeking to build offshore wind turbines are probably going to have an environmental effect on our marine areas greater than the oil and gas industry. We are told—and I am yet to be convinced that we will necessarily see all of these investments—by the government that there are investments in the Gippsland and investments right across our ocean territories. Given the low intensity of renewable energy and wind in particular, there will need to be more turbines than there are oil and gas platforms around our country. Again, don't believe what you read. The environmental performance of our oil and gas industry has been absolutely stellar. There have been very few and limited environmental issues in our marine environment from those investments.

But these potentially larger footprint of investments of wind turbines will create risk. They will potentially create risk to marine wildlife, especially through their construction and drilling. That will potentially have an impact on seafood stocks. I was just talking to someone from the fishing industry the other day. They are very concerned about the potential for fishing vessels to be locked out of large areas around wind turbines. Again, given their larger footprint, that would have a much bigger impact than our oil and gas infrastructure does on our fishing industry. So all of those things have to be taken into account.

I have great confidence, though, in our regulators—the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority and the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator. NOPSEMA and NOPTA are both exemplars of our Public Service in this country. They have very committed individuals who I had the great privilege of working with as the minister for resources. They do a great job in regulating our oil and gas sector. They are a large reason why we have had that great and strong environmental performance on oil and gas. I am sure they will do an excellent job under this new regulatory framework, once this legislation is passed, to regulate the offshore wind industry.

It was the former government that provided funding to both NOPSEMA and NOPTA and their responsible department—it was then the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources—to create this framework and to get geared up to do this. I am glad that the new government is progressing these initiatives and continuing with the great work they have done.

I would hope that one day we will have investments in offshore wind here. I don't know if the grand plans that are being suggested will be realised. There are a lot of questions on the rigor of the CSIRO's latest GenCost report which I think will be exposed in the months ahead, especially in regard to nuclear. But, be that as it may, even the CSIRO, who are fairly pro on renewables, put the cost of offshore wind at around $150 a megawatt hour. That is at least 50 per cent higher than coal, solar and onshore wind in their cost models. So that's a lot higher, and, given the high prices we see at the moment, obviously we'd like to attract investment into sources of energy that can lower the cost—lower the cost for families and especially lower that cost for our manufacturers.

Offshore wind probably doesn't promise that. We've got to be real here with people. We've got to stop telling them fairytales. Offshore wind is a very expensive type of power—especially when you add on the fact that, on top of that $150, of course it's not available all the time. You've got to back it up—you've got to 'firm' it, in the jargon of the energy industry. And so the actual delivered cost—the cost to deliver 24/7 power with some component from offshore wind—would be much, much higher. It'd be probably at least in the order of $200 a megawatt-hour, or possibly more.

Compare that to nuclear. And I'll say: the CSIRO report has a lot of problems with nuclear, because, No. 1, it only looks at small modular reactors, which haven't been commercially deployed yet. I'm not sure why the CSIRO won't, or is unwilling to, publish figures for light-water nuclear reactors that are commercially available and used right around the world. In fact, we're only the settled continent in the world without nuclear energy; it's us and the penguins in Antarctica that are holding out against nuclear energy. Consistently, you get estimates, from around the world, of nuclear energy being delivered below that $150 a megawatt-hour. In some countries in Scandinavia and Asia, it's much lower than that—lower than $100 a megawatt-hour. Other countries in Western Europe have struggled recently with their cost of nuclear energy.

But, if you want zero emissions, if you want to get to this mythical net-zero land, and you want cheaper power, why wouldn't you consider nuclear power? Why don't we have some legislation here that, alongside this offshore wind bill, actually legalises nuclear? That's given me an idea: perhaps I should draft some amendments to put, to legalise nuclear energy in this bill! But I won't hold up the good work of those public servants. I will let this through. There is other legislation—if I could foreshadow something on the Notice Paperthat is considering that particular effort.

As I say, what we need to do here, most importantly, is to tell the truth to the Australian people. This government, in particular, has already been caught lying to the Australian people. They've already been caught breaking a massive political promise—only six months ago, suggesting that their renewable energy plan, which included offshore wind, would save Australians $275 a year on their power bills. That was what they put to the Australian people. Indeed, their leader, Anthony Albanese, promised that to the Australian people 97 times before the last election. We don't hear the words 'two hundred and seventy-five' from this government anymore. They won't repeat that promise. They've walked away from it. They walked away from it within weeks of being elected. They just dropped it as if no-one would remember. But I don't think the Australian people are mugs. I do think they will remember that they were promised—they were promised; there were no ifs and buts; there were no caveats—that, by voting for the Labor Party on 21 May this year, they would get a $275 saving on their power bill. And they haven't got what they were promised. There are no refunds on a newly elected government, but there is another election coming up. And I don't think the Australian people will forget that lightly.

Now, the reason the Labor Party have not been able to deliver on their promise is that we are investing too much in renewable energy. You can't believe their promises, but if you were to believe what the Labor Party say about our energy system, they walk around saying: 'The problem is that terrible, dastardly former coalition government did not invest in renewable energy enough.' They say: we did not invest in it enough; we didn't do enough; we had 10 years of no action. Well, obviously, the Labor Party doesn't read the Australian Energy Market Operator's reports, and obviously they do not get across the detail of what has been happening in our energy market, because Australia has been investing in solar and wind at a record rate, well above any other country in the world—well above. And those are not my figures. If you go to the last Australian Energy Market Operator's quarterly report, they say that Australia has invested in solar and wind at a rate four times higher, per person, than North America or Europe—higher than any other country in the world. And four times higher, by the way—not just a little bit higher; not just marginally above. We have been installing solar and wind energy at a rate four times the rate in other developed countries in the world.

Now, what has that delivered us? What has that delivered to the Australian people? It has delivered us skyrocketing energy prices. It has delivered crushing power bill increases for Australian families who, this Christmas, are facing a very difficult decision about how many toys to buy the kids to put under the Christmas tree, because they have to pay for higher power bills. That's what it has delivered. That is the clear and direct evidence. In fact, it's also the evidence in countries overseas. Every other country that has gone down this path of investing in unreliable, weather-dependent energy ends up with higher power bills. Every country in Europe that has done it—Germany, Denmark and every other country that's done it—has ended up with higher power prices. We are no different; we're just doing it a little bit faster than those other countries right now. It's about time we got off that track and invested in reliable power so that Australian families do not get crushed by their higher energy bills.

I do give thanks today to the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, who is consistent with what I'm saying: we've got to tell the truth; we've got to be upfront with people. As hard and painful as that might be, our job is to do that. I've been very critical of Dr Philip Lowe's management of monetary policy but I give credit to him for, overnight, belling the cat on our energy crisis. He said plainly yesterday, in a speech to CEDA, that investing more in green energy will lead to higher power bills. That's what he said. I just hope—and it's about time—that the Australian Labor Party and the federal government will be as upfront and honest with the Australian people as Philip Lowe had the courage to be yesterday, because right now they are telling us fairytales.

You have to make choices and trade-offs in life, and if you invest in a power system that is less dependent, less reliable and costs billions of dollars you are going to get higher power prices as a result. The Australian Labor Party wants to spend $60-odd billion on transmission lines and untold amounts on wind and solar. If you invest all those billions of dollars in new infrastructure and get exactly the same energy system we had before, which is what they're proposing—we're not going to get a better electricity system that is going to make our fridges colder and our factories run more efficiently; if everything works out, it's going to be exactly the same as before but we'll have spent tens of billions of dollars getting there—that means you're going to be less productive. That means you're going to have higher prices and higher costs. That's the way business works. If a business spends billions and billions of dollars on new equipment, new gear and new technologies and gets exactly the same output as it did before, it's going to make less money. Its profits are going to go down. That's what's going to happen to our country if we continue on this path. We are spending billions and billions of dollars and not getting a better energy system in return. We're going to shut down our existing coal-fired power plants early, when they could still be running—they've been invested in; their costs have been sunk—and we're going to replace them at a very, very high cost. That is going to cost our economy and our society dearly.

We have to realise right now that the world is waking up to this fraud of an idea that we can run an industrial economy on renewable energy alone. We saw just last week, as Senator Whish-Wilson mentioned, the complete failure of COP27. Surprise, surprise! The rest of the world is not signing up to phase down fossil fuels. In Egypt there was no agreement to do that. People went there—Chris Bowen went over there—thinking this would happen. The rest of the world didn't agree. They didn't agree because they can see what's happening in Europe right now. They look at those countries that have become dependent on solar and wind, like Germany, which has been at the forefront of this—they call it the Energiewende, the green energy scam—and see the disaster that is Germany now. There's another German word that we should all learn right now. It's 'Dunkelflaute', which means 'the dark doldrums'. The Germans have a word for everything, and they've now got a word for the terrible consequences of an obsession with renewable energy. Dunkelflaute means 'the dark doldrums'. It refers to the periods in Germany when there is no wind for weeks at a time, and at that time they've got no power, no energy.

Germany are lucky in that they can import power from the nuclear energy plants of France and the coal-fired power plants of Poland. They used to import it from Russia, of course. They can get by. We don't have that. We're an island nation, so when a Dunkelflaute hits this country it really will be the dark doldrums. We will not have factories, we'll have the lights out and we'll have Australian families who cannot afford the basic costs of living. We cannot do that in this country with so many energy resources. I support this bill but I support investing in all Australian energy.

11:24 am

Photo of Jenny McAllisterJenny McAllister (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank senators for their contributions to what was a characteristically wide-ranging debate here in our chamber on the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour, and I am always intrigued by decisions from opposition senators to come into this chamber and provide commentary about national energy policy. That's because the most significant characteristic of the last decade of Liberal government in coalition with their junior partners, the National Party, was an entirely chaotic approach to energy policy. Unhappily for Australians, we are reaping the benefits of that chaos. It is worth stepping through just a handful of their 22 policies—there are actually more policies than I would have time to go through. None of them landed, of course: not a single one of them landed.

Senators here who are honest with themselves will recall sitting on Senate committees when the energy industry, rather desperately, would come before senators in Senate committees and essentially say: 'For heaven's sake, could the government—could the Liberal-National government—please deliver a coherent, consistent and predictable energy policy so we can get on with energy decision-making?'

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Any energy policy!

Photo of Jenny McAllisterJenny McAllister (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

'Any energy policy of any kind, because we would like to make final investment decisions about this project or that project or another project.'

But during that long decade of Liberal and National party government none of that could happen, because there was no energy policy. Under Mr Abbott we had Direct Action. He was then of course replaced by Mr Turnbull, who set Dr Finkel to work in labouring over a long and quite coherent report where he recommended a clean energy target. Of course that wasn't adopted, it produced enormous infighting and, ultimately, was transformed into something else—the National Energy Guarantee. Mr Turnbull sought to legislate that and that of course was overwhelmed by infighting and bickering within the Liberal and National coalition—and, I suspect, between Liberals themselves. That saw the demise of Mr Turnbull and we ended up with Mr Morrison as the Prime Minister.

He of course had a big-stick policy—a policy which was, strangely, not connected to any of the actual challenges facing the energy system at the time. We had Mr Taylor in the chair as the energy minister—he now wants to be the Treasurer—who suggested that taxpayers should indemnify new coal projects. That of course produced more fighting between the Liberals and the Nationals and we ended up with the UNGI, the billion dollars that was going to produce a whole lot of new investment in energy projects that never eventuated. Then we had a technology road map.

It's actually quite unclear what the energy policy of the Liberal and National parties is at the moment. It seems to have something to do with nuclear. Of course they had a decade where they could have pursued nuclear energy and could have enlivened that option for the country. But they didn't do that and now, as far as I can tell, the only policy they have on the table is a policy to put a nuclear reactor in every coastal community. So it's an intriguing approach from a group of people who would like to come in here and talk about social licence. It's an absolutely intriguing set of propositions but, more generally, an interesting political approach, because I think honesty does matter. Actually thinking about the legacy of the previous government in relation to energy policy and just having the tiniest bit of insight about the problems generated by their approach over the last decade might actually be appropriate as they commence a period in opposition.

That's because the legacy of all of this is that four gigawatts of capacity were retired from the system—four gigawatts of capacity left the electricity system and only one was constructed. That was a direct consequence of the chaos and dysfunction in the government led by those three Liberal prime ministers. It was chaos and dysfunction which led to the exit of a very significant volume of capacity from the system, with very little to replace it. The Labor government is setting about remedying those challenges and the problems created by the mismanagement and incompetence of those opposite.

This bill is essentially a technical bill, and I will return to the substance of what is before us. The establishment of offshore renewable energy will promote regional development by enabling sustainable investment in Australia's coastal areas, creating jobs and growing local economies. This bill makes some quite small administrative amendments to the existing Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Act 2021 to reflect machinery-of-government changes. The bill also makes some technical amendments and closes a regulatory gap in the Customs Act 1901 to ensure full coverage of customs obligations for new renewable energy infrastructure projects offshore. This regulatory framework for offshore renewables will contribute to delivering cleaner, cheaper renewable energy for Australian households and businesses. This underpins the acceleration of energy transition and decarbonisation in Australia. We're sending a clear signal that we are open for business when it comes to new energy investment, and we are giving certainty to the market.

I thank the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for their inquiry into the bill and their recommendation that it be passed. The government is committed to a sustainable offshore wind industry with a strong social license for its operation and benefits to the community. It's important that this new industry for Australia not only cuts emissions but is environmentally sustainable in its operations.

I note the comments from Senator Whish-Wilson, and I thank him for his contribution to the debate. We do expect that these projects will take all reasonable steps to deliver on this important part of their social license, including through the reuse and recycling of any components that are being decommissioned.

The department is developing further regulations about management plans and the operation of offshore electricity infrastructure, and it will take these issues into account in that process. While we do not support the need for a second reading amendment, we are committed to an environmentally sustainable industry in Australia.

Photo of Andrew McLachlanAndrew McLachlan (SA, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the second reading amendment on sheet 1751, moved by Senator Whish-Wilson, be agreed to.