Big names to make energetic defence
Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein and Energy Minister Matthew Groom will make their much-anticipated appearances at the state’s energy crisis inquiry this week.
The energy issues were triggered by dry months diminishing Hydro Tasmania’s water storages, and damage that knocked the Basslink power cable offline, creating a crisis that has already cost $60 million in diesel generation alone.
Mr Groom says he is looking forward to busting myths circulated by the Labor Opposition.
“I think what history will show is that all of those assertions were wrong and I look forward to busting those myths, and the committee has a full understanding of what transpired,” he told reporters on Monday.
“I think it's important that Tasmanians understand just how critical the energy supply plan was to avoiding a catastrophic outcome to the Tasmanian economy.”
The inquiry is being run by the heavyweight Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
PAC chair independent MLC Ivan Dean does not want to descend into unhelpful politicking.
“It really annoys me that yes, we have to wrestle with that from time to time — and that is the case with all joint house committees,” he said.
“The area of politics does creep into it and as a chairman, I've got to be very careful to try and keep that out of it, but it does interfere from time to time.”
He said he would stop the Government from only focusing on Labor.
“If it did, I would be as a chair diverting the questions back to where the committee wants it, and that would be on the terms of reference, and Mr [Bryan] Green isn't involved in the terms of reference,” he said.
But Mr Dean said there were legal limitations on the questions the committee can put to the Government.
“It will restrict the committee because our terms of reference will reach into those other areas where there is some confidentiality necessary in the circumstances,” he said.
“We're now well into August of course so we've got to get moving. We're anxious to start writing up our report.”
Hydro Tasmania is set to make an appearance this week as well.