Joint Statement: Support for Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill
We welcome the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill 2020 and will seek support from the major parties to back amendments which will improve public consultation and support communities reliant on traditional energy production.
There is no doubt that the bill will allow for a well-managed transition of the state’s existing electricity production to a modern, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity system that will ensure costs to consumers are kept low and that incentives for private investment in the network are attractive and accessible.
The bill will deliver a massive boost in renewable energy generation and sets up a framework to encourage more renewable energy investment beyond legislated goals including by making “sustainability” a statutory object of the state’s electricity plan.
It is recognised that there will be many challenges and opportunities for future electricity generation due to things such as emergent technology and the need to address climate change impacts of thermal energy production. This bill addresses those challenges head-on.
We are of the view that there must be a focus on the workers and communities who have historically provided the energy that has powered NSW for many decades. Communities such as those in Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley that have produced electricity through Wangi Wangi, Munmorah, Vales Point, Liddell, Bayswater, Mt Piper and Eraring powers stations need to also benefit from the paradigm shift that will be driven from this policy.
These communities have workers and infrastructure that should be part of delivering clean, reliable energy as part of the expanded network to be developed in areas including the New England, Central West and South West NSW.
We must also involve communities in new renewable energy zones or areas affected by transmission infrastructure as early as possible in the planning and delivery. Large renewable energy projects can significantly affect residents, farmers and landowners for example, due to impacts on the local environment, tourism, agriculture or property value.
We need to engage with affected communities and potentially look at solutions that both address their concerns and ensure renewable energy can be delivered. The bill makes significant improvements to the current processes in this regard.
We commend Minister Kean on his leadership in bringing this critical legislation to the New South Wales Parliament.
Member for Lake Macquarie Member for Sydney Member for Wagga Wagga