Will the NSW Government Invest in Renewable Energy: Our Question to the Premier

Today in Parliament we asked the NSW Premier if she will legislate to meet the aspirational target set by the NSW Liberal Government for net zero emissions by 2050. Read her response below. 


Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 15:16 :05 ): My question is directed to the Premier. Given that the people of New South Wales have been experiencing record-breaking heatwaves and flash flooding, and given that what gets measured gets done, will she consider legislating to ensure that New South Wales meets the aspirational target set by her Government of zero net emissions by 2050?

Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN ( Willoughby—Premier) (15:16:23): I thank the member for Newtown for her question and acknowledge her commitment to all matters relating to the environment. I am pleased to say that the New South Wales Government of course supports the Commonwealth's renewable energy target. Our Renewable Energy Action Plan is helping to guide our renewable energy development in this State. Last week there was a record demand for electricity in New South Wales, during very trying heatwave conditions, and we met that demand by using every source of electricity. The critical thing was that we used every source, whether it was coal, gas, hydro-electricity, wind or solar. It is key to use every source of energy available. I stress that our future electricity needs will be met by a smart combination of all these elements.

Those opposite have no credibility on this issue because last week, during extremely trying times, the Leader of the Opposition suggested that we should reopen a mothballed coal-fired power station, while the member for Blacktown wanted to close down the coal industry. We know that there are huge levels of disagreement among those opposite. I stress that New South Wales has adopted long-term objectives to make us more resilient to a changing climate and to achieve those net zero emissions by 2050, which is the issue raised by the member. These objectives are completely consistent with the Commonwealth's commitment to the Paris agreement, as the member would know. Our total Climate Change Policy Framework was released in November 2016, and that included a half a billion dollar environment funding package for the Climate Change Fund, up to $200 million to be invested in accelerating advanced energy, using renewables, storage and smart meters, and a range of other things. I hope that addresses the member's question in relation to our commitment.

I say also that last week our State came under stress because of the extreme heatwave and the pressure it put on our energy sources. I am really pleased with the way in which we managed to come through that challenge. I was very disappointed by the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition. When people were feeling stressed and we were putting out public announcements about what to do to make sure we maintained our energy levels, the Leader of the Opposition said, "All of these problems are because the Liberals have privatised electricity." Surely he was not talking about poles and wires; that is distribution. If he was talking about the gen‑traders, we all know who started that privatisation—the New South Wales Labor Party. Those on the opposite side of the Chamber have no credibility on any issues regarding energy or the environment. I thank the member for Newtown for her question. We are committed to making sure we take a balanced approach to this State's energy needs, and will continue to do that.


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