Labor sells out Gippsland on offshore wind

The Andrews Labor Government has already sold out Gippsland on the development of offshore wind with a government paper nominating the Port of Hastings as the state government’s preferred port for offshore wind construction and development.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he was astounded that just a few days after the Premier made hollow promises about restarting the State Electricity Commission (SEC) and delivering jobs for Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley, the truth had been revealed.

“The State Government’s Offshore Wind Implementation Statement makes clear that Labor’s preferred port to support offshore wind construction is the Port of Hastings.

“This is despite the fact that the vast bulk of the proposed offshore wind farms are currently planned off the 90 Mile Beach and therefore are much closer to Barry Beach. Labor is clearly looking for a metro vote dividend and heading to Hastings instead.”

This figure in the report (pg 21) on labour mobility highlights where Labor thinks former power station and oil and gas workers will have to move for work in offshore wind.

Mr O’Brien said this makes mockery of the Government’s claims to be supporting jobs and economic benefits for Gippsland.

“If the Government is going to direct offshore wind companies to utilise the government-owned port of Hastings, then the advantages for Gippsland workers and companies to engage in the construction phase are dramatically reduced.

“Labor would be excluding Gippsland from the best potential benefits of the proposed massive developments off our own coast.

“Ultimately the private companies will make their own decisions about which ports to use, but it is extremely disappointing to have the Victorian Government directing activity away from Gippsland.

Mr O’Brien also noted that the paper indicates that transmission lines from offshore wind to agreed “connection points” will have to be placed underground.

“While this is welcome, it makes no mention of the further transmission lines needed back to the grid.”

Mr O’Brien said the Offshore Wind Implementation Statement raised a number of questions for the Andrews Labor Government to answer:

  • How does the Latrobe Valley and Sale which are seeing transition out of coal, oil and gas benefit if Hastings is to be the hub for offshore wind?
  • If companies are forced to underground their transmission lines to a connection point, then why are transmission lines not also to be undergrounded back to the grid?
  • The Government says VicGrid will coordinate development of transmission lines, if so, what is it doing with AusNet which is already proposing its own transmission line?

Mr O’Brien said Daniel Andrews was deliberately misleading the people of Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley on the eve of an election yet again and needs to come clean.

“I believe there are great opportunities for us through the development of offshore wind farms, but there are also many challenges ahead.

“If we are going to have to put up with the negatives of new energy developments, then we must also be able to reap the rewards of the jobs and investment actually in our region, not in some distant port.”

The Government’s document can be found here:

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