MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (13:31): I rise today to congratulate Wannon Water for its fantastic carbon neutrality action plan, which is delivering an Australian first in Portland. By investing $4.2 million in a 50-metre-high wind turbine that will reduce carbon emissions by an average of 2500 tonnes a year, Wannon Water has achieved net-zero-plus emissions at Portland’s water and sewage treatment facilities. This means that the facility actually produces more energy than it consumes. Victoria-wide water utilities are the largest carbon emitters in the public sector, so this project is an exemplar to all. Extracting water from Portland’s deep aquifer is challenging it itself, let alone cooling, treating and delivering the water and also processing Portland’s industrial and residential sewage and wastewater—all energy-intensive processes.
Last week I was really pleased to represent the Minister for Water, the Honourable Lisa Neville, in formally launching this locally generated renewable power facility, the more so because there have been real pluses for Portland. Local content and local jobs are key aspects of the project, with Keppel Prince Engineering manufacturing the tower, GR Carr undertaking civil works and Laser Electrical doing the electrical fit-out as well as ongoing maintenance. Lower energy bills for consumers are an added bonus. The Andrews Labor government has established a target in its Water for Victoria plan of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In this context, Wannon Water’s achievement is impressive and groundbreaking. A project like this helps our state to reduce its carbon footprint, and Wannon Water’s initiative is an inspiration.