Our electrical energy future
WHAT an interesting and thought provoking editorial in your paper on August 1 about making sense of energy.
The announcement of the progress on the Marinus cable link to the mainland and opinion that it could well be superseded by new technologies and other mainland projects is worth commenting on.
How many Tasmanians are aware that NSW has just announced a new green energy initiative of 3000 megawatts of local power in NSW? This project alone is some 15-20 times more than the total output power of Tasmania.
Victoria also has huge offshore wind farms planned in its upgrade of the state electricity supply.
With such large scale mainland power developments proposed, would these mainland states be wanting to buy power from Tasmania and from proposed wind farm projects such as the industrial sized wind farm on Saint Patricks Plains in the Central Highlands of Tasmania known worldwide for its landscape, fishery, bird and animal life?
All Tasmanians must think carefully about our electrical energy future and at what cost to this beautiful state. Places the likes of which are fast disappearing worldwide.
The multi-billion dollar Marinus “extension cord” to the mainland is a project well worth further investigation into its viability.
John Crosse, Penstock Lagoon.
Weakening democratic rights
The Planning Minister Roger Jaensch failed to rule out using the proposed Major Projects legislation to assess and approve the Cambria Green development (The Examiner, August 4).
The Cambria project would easy fit the major projects criteria as drafted and the decision to declare a project is entirely up to the “opinion” of the minister.
While avoiding answering this question, the minister has the temerity to claim the major projects legislation does not provide fast tracks or by-pass normal processes.
The legislation will remove the community’s right to appeal development approvals, the community’s input to assessments is diminished, planning scheme changes can be forced on communities and councils, elected councillors have no say on approvals and the trusted and independent Tasmanian Planning Commission is sidelined.
It is a sad indictment on our political system when a minister wants to weaken democratic rights but refuses to tell the community of his true intentions.
Tasmanian Conservation Trust director.
Legislative Council’s future
IVAN DEAN is spot on with his suggestion that with the likelihood, following recent upper house elections, that there will be more party than independent members in the Legislative Council, and contrary to the original intent of the place, now is the time to seriously consider whether Tasmania’s Upper House can justify its retention as an ‘Independent’ House of Review (The Examiner, August 4).
The Examiner‘s editorial argued that: “It is not helpful for good governance to have upstairs a gaggle of MPs who effectively rule themselves out of contention for ministries by virtue of their independence”.
To me therein lies the true value of a fully independent house of review in that it is far more preferable to have one whose membership consists of elected representatives who listen to the views of the people they represent rather than that of self serving career minded politicians with vested interests as to ensuring their own particular political future and toeing the party line.
In recent times there has often been calls to expand Tasmania’s House of Assembly and I have actively and publicly advocated against such a move.
But now maybe, in view of the recent election results, this should be seriously considered in con junction with the abolition of the state’s upper house and a complete reform of the Tasmanian Parliament to a unicameral form similar to former Premier Michael Field’s suggestion (TheExaminer, August 5).
As Mr Dean points out unicameral parliaments work quite well in other state’s and countries, such as New Zealand which did away with their Upper House in 1951 without suffering any major consequences.
And, as a bonus, there is no doubt abolition of Tasmania’s Upper House would result in significant cost savings to Tasmanian taxpayers so bring it on, I say.
Jim Collier, Legana.
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