The amount of new coalmining output currently being assessed by the Government for New South Wales is 25 per cent greater than the total output of the deeply unpopular Adani mega mine. Jenny questioned the Premier about whether the NSW Government is committed to protecting our climate.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 15:13 ): My question is directed to the Premier. Given more than 65 per cent of Australians oppose Adani's Carmichael coalmine and the amount of new coalmining output currently being assessed by the Government for New South Wales is 25 per cent greater than the total output of this Adani mega mine, will the New South Wales Government commit to protecting our climate and no new coalmines in New South Wales?
Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN ( Willoughby—Premier) (15:14): I thank the member for Newtown for her question and note that at least she asked a question about something she believes in. That is in vast contrast to the questions asked by those opposite. I say to her, as I say to all the people of New South Wales, that we will continue to use coal so long as we continue to need to use coal. New South Wales will continue to be the most resilient State when it comes to energy requirements. Having said that, I also stress that we are investing heavily in renewables as well. I will go through the list, but first I want to say that this is in stark contrast to the Labor Party.
The Federal Labor leader has been promising coalminers in Queensland that he supports them. Then he promised The Greens in Victoria that he is anti-coal. It depends on where he is. The New South Wales Leader of the Opposition is no different. The Leader of the Opposition will give a response on energy depending on which electorate he is in and who he is talking to. The Government has remained consistent. I hear the interjections from those opposite. I would appreciate their respecting The Greens member who asked me the question, and allow me to answer it.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Clerk will stop the clock. I will order the clock to be stopped every time there is an interjection. The Premier has the call.
Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: As I said, the Government is very pleased that New South Wales is the most resilient State when it comes to energy. The Government is also pleased that there are more than $15 billion worth of energy projects comprising over 14,000 megawatts that are shovel ready or under construction in New South Wales. Just this month the Government approved Australia's largest wind farm at Liverpool Plains, which will power nearly 500,000 homes and deliver 800 jobs. We have also commenced construction of nine renewable projects, including three wind farms and six solar farms—including the Sapphire Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in New South Wales, and the Dubbo Solar Farm, which will power 10,000 homes and help the New South Wales Government meet its renewable energy target obligations.
The Government is also pleased that last year 14 large-scale renewable projects were approved in New South Wales, including 12 solar farms, 500 megawatts of gas plants and all these other projects. In New South Wales we have a very good balance of what our State needs. There are two drivers for the Government in terms of energy policy. The first is resilience. We need to make sure we have a continuous power supply. The second is to keep prices as low as possible. The Government knows that people throughout New South Wales are worried about energy prices, and we will make sure that energy prices are kept as low as possible.
This is why New South Wales strongly supports a national approach to energy. The reason New South Wales requests a national approach is that no matter what kinds of policies we have in New South Wales—no matter how good our policies are—other States let us down. Other States have not done the right thing. In fact, only recently an article was published in the Daily Telegraph that talked about the Victorian Government relying on the New South Wales Government over summer to provide Victoria's energy needs. The article stated:
NSW power stations kept the lights on in Victoria over the sweltering summer, including during the Australian Open when energy regulators warned of rolling blackout threats for our southern neighbours.
Victoria, South Australia and even, to a lesser extent, Queensland do not have the resilience that New South Wales has. The Government has a sensible approach. Of course it encourages investment in alternative energy, but the Government also acknowledges that we need to rely on traditional sources as well. Meanwhile, two of Australia's largest solar farms are in New South Wales and we are also investing heavily in wind and other projects. Whenever the member for Newtown asks a question about energy policy I will say to her that the Government will be consistent no matter which electorate a member is standing in and no matter who that member is talking to. Those opposite will tell one group of people they oppose the coal industry forever and will then tell the miners that they are protecting their jobs. The Government is consistent. Government members will continue to be consistent and will protect the environment while also ensuring that we support our energy needs.