Tasmanian Times

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Basslink 1: Busted, Basslink 2: Unfunded

• Liberals all at sea on Bass Strait cables
• Costs of second Bass Strait cable estimated at $1 billion or more
• Cost of legal action over Basslink 1 unknown
There are more questions than answers over the Liberals handling of the critical energy portfolio.
Infrastructure Australia’s move to add a second Bass Strait interconnector to its priority initiative list does not provide a guarantee of the project going ahead or clarity about who would foot the costs.
Meanwhile the State is pushing ahead with legal action against the owners of the original Basslink cable as it becomes clear that the crucial asset is permanently damaged.
“There is a huge amount of uncertainty around Guy Barnett’s handling of the energy portfolio,” Shadow Energy Minister David O’Byrne said.
“Mr Barnett has committed only to sharing the $20 million costs of a feasibility study and business case for the second interconnector.
“Beyond that, Tasmanians will remain in the dark about whether the costs of the actual project – which would be significant – would come from the state or the Commonwealth because Mr Barnett clearly just doesn’t know.
“The estimated costs of more than $1 billion need to be thoroughly tested before this project is given a green light and that means the business case and feasibility study must be meticulous in detail.
“With his pending legal action against Basslink – which was kept secret until after the state election – and the $180 million the government cost Tasmanian taxpayers with the energy crisis, can Minister Barnett guarantee Tasmanians will not be slugged with more costs?
“Labor has little confidence in Mr Barnett’s ability to navigate complex infrastructure projects.
“There have been no signs from Mr Barnett that he is capable of correcting the Liberals’ appalling track record with the energy crisis and the botched sale of the Tamar Valley Power station.
“Labor wants a good outcome for Tasmania.
“But Tasmanians need detail and they need assurances they will get that detail from a Liberal Government that remains desperately secretive.”
David O’Byrne MP Shadow Energy Minister

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