State Environment Minister backs offshore wind development during Question Time


ONE Nation MLC Tania Mihailuk took aim at Federal Labor’s Hunter offshore wind zone development during Question Time in NSW Parliament last Thursday, questioning NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe about the State Government’s involvement in the project.

“Given that her Federal counterpart Chris Bowen has declared that the pristine waters off the coast of Port Stephens are suitable for an 1,800-square kilometre wind farm, despite widespread community backlash, what role does the Minister anticipate the New South Wales Government will have with the project or any of its associated infrastructure?” Ms Mihailuk asked.

“Does she intend to engage in any community consultation on the matter, including attending a rally that has been planned for 7 October, to hear directly from concerned residents?”

Ms Sharpe responded by saying the State Government “looks forward to working closely with the Federal Government” on the project.

“Offshore wind presents an exciting potential opportunity for New South Wales’ clean energy future,” Ms Sharpe said.

“The Commonwealth has declared an offshore wind development off the Hunter, and another one is also being planned to be created for the Illawarra.

“That process allows project proponents to apply for licences to undertake feasibility studies about the potential offshore wind projects in the area.

“These types of projects are some years away, but it is important that all developers engage in rigorous community consultation as they explore the potential for offshore wind to power our State.

“That is what is happening right now.”

Ms Sharpe also spoke to the project’s capacity to help power the state with clean energy.

“It has the potential to generate up to five gigawatts of renewable wind energy,” she said.

“That is enough to power an estimated 4.2 million homes.

“To put that in perspective for people, our energy target in New South Wales for 2030 is 12 gigawatts.

“This one project could potentially provide five gigawatts of renewable energy.

“There are also obviously jobs and other benefits.”

Ms Sharpe also indicated that the State Government’s involvement would develop over time, with greater involvement in the process of linking offshore wind projects to the existing network.

“If those projects go ahead, how we then link them and get them into the grid on shore is something that will be very carefully worked through with the State.

“It will obviously require aspects of our own planning policies.

“We are a fair way away from that.”

A public rally against the wind farm development is currently being organised for October 7, by One Nation and the Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing Club, however Ms Sharpe stated during Question time that she would not be attending.

“In relation to attending a meeting – or protest or rally – no, I will not be doing that.

“But I meet with a range of people all the time, and if people wish to come and talk to me about that, my door is always open.”

With much of the community up in arms over the potential offshore wind development, a parliamentary petition has been launched to halt the project.

The petitioner, Rhys Westbury of Boat Harbour, is calling for “greater community engagement and information”, describing the Federal Government’s consultation period as “insufficient, with questions unable to be answered”.

“If the community does not want this project to go ahead, we ask the House to scrap this project.”

The petition closes August 31.

To vote visit


Leave a Reply