Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria)— My question is to the Minister for Planning. The federal minister for the environment has finally approved the long-delayed Bald Hills wind farm project in Gippsland. He has ultimately delayed a project that will deliver definitive environmental benefits for Victoria. I ask the minister to inform the house of what action the Bracks government has taken to progress this project, despite the federal government’s lack of commitment to renewable energy.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning)— I thank Ms Tierney for her question and her particular interest in this issue. This is a case of a yellow-bellied minister hiding behind an orange-bellied parrot — that is what this is all about at the end of the day. Furthermore, on the day on which he recants his decision, he has to hide behind a red-bellied Santa Claus.
Not only has he announced it on the eve of Christmas but when the media try to get a statement from him on this issue, do members know where he is?
He is with another big bird; he is on a flight from Sydney or Canberra — or wherever he is today — to Perth. The media will not be able to access him until 5 o’clock tonight. Funnily enough, the media deadlines for television tonight will not be able to pick him up. He will have no comment to make on the issue. This reflects the inconsistency of the federal minister for the environment, Senator Campbell.
I want to congratulate my colleague and portfolio predecessor in the other place, Minister Hulls, because he had the good sense to take it up to Minister Campbell on this matter.
Whilst the opposition has various personal opinions on wind farms, I assume Mr Philip Davis would be very pleased with the announcement by Minister Campbell because some years ago he was out there with Dean Miles supporting wind farms. It is pleasing to know that he can change his mind on issues. It is pleasing to know that the opposition is consistently inconsistent, so that can be guaranteed.
What is particularly impressive is that, after many months on this issue, Senator Campbell has finally come around on this. This is a testament to good science and good planning processes, even though he has not been able to appreciate that for some months.
Senator Campbell has finally approved the Bald Hills wind farm project, which will deliver enormous environmental benefits. I am informed that it will displace somewhere in the order of 435 000 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year.
It will supply 63 000 houses with green electricity, and it will be the equivalent of planting 600 000 trees each year. We can only hope that Senator Campbell has learnt a valuable lesson and in future will focus on the environment, good process, good science and ultimately the wellbeing of the nation.
One of the critical issues about planning is certainty. The one thing I am certain of is that the federal government gives no certainly when it comes to planning issues with the environment minister that they have now. I look forward to making sure that we continue with good processes, and we hope in the future that the federal government understands what good process is so we can get better planning outcomes in this state.