The Tasmanian Greens today secured a commitment from the Minister for Energy to direct Hydro Tasmania to meet with the Uniting Church to discuss their concerns about Hydro’s involvement in controversial dam building projects in Malaysia.

In State Parliament this morning, Greens Energy spokesperson Kim Booth MP tabled a letter from the Justice and International Mission Unit of the Uniting Church requesting a meeting with Hydro Tasmania to discuss their role in the development of dams in Sarawak.

“I am pleased that the Minister today said he would ensure that Hydro Tasmania meet with the representatives from the Uniting Church to discuss their concerns over work being undertaken by Sarawak Energy Berhad involving Hydro Tasmania’s consultancy arm Entura,” Mr Booth said.

“The Uniting Church wrote to Hydro on January 15th and, at the time I raised this matter in Parliament, they had not received a response.”

“Representatives from the Uniting Church in Tasmania are extremely concerned about impacts of these dams on indigenous people, and about the allegations of serious corruption surrounding these projects.”

“I have visited Entura offices and have seen the professionalism and competency of the people who work there, and I fear that their involvement in Sarawak could unnecessarily damage the organisation’s reputation.”

“There are a number of investigations underway into allegations of corruption involving the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib, with 20 Swiss MPs filing a motion in parliament for an immediate freeze on assets held by Swiss banks on behalf of the Malaysian Taib family.”

“Even if Hydro Tasmania is not directly involved, their excellent reputation will be tarnished by association if the allegations of corruption are found to be true.”

“If these developments turn out to solely advantage an elite few in violation of indigenous rights then we should simply not be involved.”

[1] Download: Uniting Letter to Hydro Tasmania, 15 January 2013 (with permission):
Mar21_Uniting_Church_Letter_to_Hydro_Tasmania_K_Booth_ATTACH.pdf
Kim Booth MP Greens Energy Spokesperson Thursday, 21 March 2013