Greens move successful amendment to ensure consultation with Aboriginal communities on energy projects

Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP has praised the Greens amendment to ensure that Aboriginal communities are consulted and included in the development of renewable energy infrastructure in NSW.



Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (15:10): The Greens support the amendments to the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill 2020. I acknowledge that my Greens colleague the member for Ballina is in the Chamber. I will address the amendment from the Legislative Council that inserts into the legislation the requirement for consultation and negotiation with local Aboriginal communities. It is crucial to recognise that very often we look at vast parts of land in this State as empty land; that is, land on which big renewable energy projects could be built. It is important to remember that it is not actually empty land; it is Aboriginal land. It is absolutely crucial that we recognise the ownership of that land. There must be respect for country. Members must recognise that any projects or work that is happening in that space must be done in consultation and negotiation with local Aboriginal communities. I acknowledge my Greens colleague Mr David Shoebridge in the other place for moving that amendment and for the consultation that he undertook with the Blak Greens and other Aboriginal communities across the State to ensure that the amendment was put through.

I acknowledge the willingness of the energy Minister to collaborate with members of the Labor Party, The Greens and other crossbench members to ensure that all members could support that massive shift. It was a massive shift to put aside the divisive politics around climate action, coal and renewables and instead identify the ways in which we all must act. There is strong support in the Parliament and in this place for all members to act. There is an overwhelming cry from the community to get on with the job of acting on this. I credit the Minister for that. I also put on record and commend the constructive work of and collaboration between the Liberal Nationals Government, the Labor Party, The Greens and the Independents. Personally, it means a lot to see a scenario where the divisive and dangerous views of One Nation have been sidelined in this Parliament. One Nation is only given power in this place if members choose not to work collaboratively. Members should all agree—even John Howard and I agreed on it once upon a time—that One Nation should be put last and should have no place in our democratic system with its racist and divisive views.

It is wonderful to see that piece of legislation go through Parliament. I pay credit to the members of the Government, the Opposition, The Greens and the crossbench who have been willing to collaborate and work together to sideline what was a very dangerous and toxic contribution from One Nation. We heard the death throes in the other place. They went on for hours and hours. That was someone suffering from true relevance deprivation disorder. If that is what is required, then all solidarity and support to our upper House colleagues. But members must put up with that to deliver good, collaborative work. Members must not cave into racist parties like One Nation. It is a good win for the climate, it is a good win for society and it is a good win for our community. It is important to remember that there is no environmental justice without racial justice. The Greens amendment that requires consultation with Aboriginal communities delivers on that, as does the sidelining of One Nation in the upper House. I congratulate everyone involved.

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