Radio Interview - ABC - Hyrdo Tasmania, Energy Crisis, Tasmanian Economy

JOURNALIST: We’ve got Senator Helen Polley on the line who is a Labor Senator for Tasmania. Senator Polley thanks very much for calling in. We’ve already had a release from the Greens welcoming this announcement today. What’s the line from the Labor Party?

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LEADER (TASMANIA), SENATOR HELENPOLLEY: Well I think it’s a little too late in terms of a $2.5 million announcement by the Prime Minister referring to Tasmania’s potential battery for the rest of the country. I have to say there was a missed opportunity here - we’ve had a lot of feasibility studies previously and we know that renewable energy in Tasmania has been leading the way for decades but what we’ve failed to see today is any real investment from the Hodgman Government/Turnbull Government. I mean was it a birthday gift for the Premier – I’m not sure. But having a feasibility study, while having no commitment to the second connection which is what Stephen Davies the CEO of Hyrdo Tasmania says – if you want to have a real conversation about what the Hyrdo’s role will be then you need to have a commitment to that second connection to the mainland.  I have to say that I think Tasmanians will be a little bit sceptical knowing the way that this Government has failed when it comes to the energy crisis last year. They kept people in the dark and they were very slow off the mark. I once again just see that this seems to me to be a lead up to an election campaign that is coming closer every day.  


I also wanted to make a comment as far as the Prime Minister’s concerned that he failed today to show any real commitment to the North of the State. He could have very easily addressed some of the issues around the need to clean up the Tamar River and he could have matched the $75 million for the stormwater issue we’re experiencing but he failed. Once again, job opportunities have gone missing while he was in town.


JOURNALIST: I think those issues will be followed tomorrow morning on Leon Compton’s Morning Show. So in summation, you think it’s too little, too late and that the $2.5 million isn’t a satisfactory commitment from the Government?


POLLEY: What we’ve seen from the Government at a state level and the Turnbull Government, is that they handout money for feasibility studies. What we need is some real action. When you ask the Premier what the likelihood of this commitment is he talked about how long it took to get the first cable across Bass Strait. Tasmanians cannot afford that. We need to drive our economy and we need to build on the great history we have in terms of renewable energy. It’s time to put more than $2.5 million on the table for Tasmania’s economic future.


JOURNALIST: Senator Polley thanks very much for your time.