Wednesday 27 August 2008
TAMAR VALLEY POWER STATION BILL 2008 (No. 50)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - It is rare, Madam President, that a State Government has the opportunity to go bargain hunting, but Babcock & Brown's problems are probably too good an opportunity for Tasmanian taxpayers to miss. If the figures are right Tasmanian taxpayers will save $120 million on this purchase if the sale and purchase agreement is completed by Friday, I think, as scheduled so we would not want to delay this bill. If, as the bill provides, the Tamar Valley project is sold in the future, Tasmanian taxpayers stand to make a substantial profit.
Mrs Rattray-Wagner - It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?
Mr FINCH - It sounds almost too good to be true; I am sure that is why the Government and Treasury are pretty excited about this opportunity.
I thank the Government very much for our briefing yesterday and also for Mr Challen attending. There is no doubt, as we heard yesterday, with falling Hydro storage, we might need the extra power capacity that this project will provide. It will certainly give cleaner energy than most of the electricity that we buy through Basslink. In addition there is the likelihood of extra gas resources being proven in Bass Strait. Natural gas is, of course, neither renewable nor sustainable in the long term. We have our hydro power and there is the potential, as we have seen covered by the media in recent times, for more wind and solar power.
Something we do not see that I had hoped to see more of in Tasmania is photovoltaic panels on Tasmanian homes. I am looking forward to the day when they are at a price that we can all afford so we can put those panels on every Tasmanian roof.
Ms Forrest - I'm looking forward to when the Federal Government reviews their decision.
Mr FINCH - It is coming down all the time but if everybody was able to take up that opportunity to put the panels on the roofs -
Ms Forrest - While it's so expensive only people in a higher income bracket can afford it, so you need to encourage them to do it and the Federal Government initiative doesn't do that.
Mr FINCH - Then what we save is going to be put into the power grid during our numerous clear and sunny days. The former Mayor of Launceston might be interested to know, and I do not know if he is across this figure, that in fact we have more sunny days in Launceston than they do in Sydney.
Ms Thorp - Only if you are standing on the top of Mount Arthur.
Mr FINCH - Yes, that is right.
Ms Forrest - The north-west coast has a lot of sun.
Mr Dean - And they are 10 times higher than they are in the south.
Mr FINCH - That is a fact, so we should be taking more advantage of that. When you are faced with a tight market you cut down on consumption and there is plenty of scope for this in every Tasmanian household, in every business premises and also industry.
Mrs Rattray-Wagner - Put an extra jumper on, I tell them at my place.
Mr FINCH - Yes, you look at the sales of low-energy lighting. I am still drawn to the old style of lighting. The new lighting is a bit glary but I will get used to it, and of course the prices are coming down for those as well. In fact I know of one household that has cut down its daily kilowatt hour usage by 20 per cent simply by replacing the light globes. Cutting down on household consumption is a challenge being taken up with enthusiasm by many households but I do not want to digress too far away from this bill.
Mrs Rattray-Wagner - Too late.
Mr FINCH - Yes, I have already.
Mrs Jamieson - I just remind friends, please, that they have a hard carbon footprint because of the mercury content of those globes. You have to dispose of them sooner or later.
Mr FINCH - All right. We will hear the other side of that argument when the member for Mersey joins us and gives that information that is keenly sought by the member for Apsley. I am suggesting we give this bill and the associated Consolidated Fund appropriation bill quick passage, but let us also take the opportunity to constantly review all our potential sources of power and how we use it.