PAT CONROY MP – PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA – GREEN HYDROGEN POTENTIAL

PAT CONROY MP – PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA – GREEN HYDROGEN POTENTIAL


I’m proud to rise and talk about the potential
of hydrogen. But it is incredibly hypocritical of the government to move this motion. Let
me repeat that: it is rank hypocrisy of the government to move this motion. Clearly, the
member for Ryan is a new guy in this place; he is a bit of a bunny and he has been put
up to move this motion not realising the sordid history of the coalition. The coalition haven’t
met a renewable energy technology they haven’t wanted to kill. For example, 60 per cent of
the world’s solar photovoltaic cells are based on technology developed at the University
of New South Wales. But we got zero jobs out of it because John Howard was opposed to renewable
energy. The government had a policy of actually abolishing the renewable energy target. Now
they have the chutzpah— Mr Burns interjecting—
Mr CONROY: Sorry, I am corrected by the member for Macnamara, an expert on that matter—the
chutzpah to claim the jobs and investment dollars from the RET, when they wanted to
abolish it. Even in the member’s remarks about all the investment ARENA and the CEFC want
to put into hydrogen—they’re two bodies that they want to abolish. Their election
policy was to abolish ARENA and the CEFC. This is incredible hypocrisy from the government.
It is just rank hypocrisy, and the people who are involved in this area—environmental
activists, climate scientists and energy specialists—recognise it as such.
But I will agree on one thing: there is huge potential for hydrogen in this country. The
Acil Allen report that the member was referring to before has a high-demand scenario that
has the potential of a $10 billion a year export industry generating 16,000 jobs, if
we can satisfy a decent share of the demand coming out of Japan and South Korea. Japan
wants to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the ‘Hydrogen Olympics’ and Korea has made huge
advances. For example, by 2035, all trucks and heavy vehicles in South Korea will have
to be hydrogen powered. There is massive potential there. The member for Ryan failed to mention
in his remarks that our potential customers have made it very clear that from 2030 onwards
they will only accept clean hydrogen. That is a challenge. It is particularly a challenge
for those opposite, given their love affair with fossil fuels.
They must be clean, but the real tragedy here is that government is moving way too slowly
in this area. For example, investment in renewable energy is falling off the cliff. When the
member opposite graduates from high school, he can look at some figures and realise that
renewable energy is falling off a cliff because the RET has been satisfied. The RET has been
satisfied and the government has no policy to replace that. They have an energy policy
vacuum. A government member interjecting—
Mr CONROY: They are now up to 18 energy policies— A government member interjecting—
Mr CONROY: in six years. That’s no surprise, given the Minister for Energy is too busy
hiding from public scrutiny—given his performance with Clover Moore—to actually develop policies
on hydrogen or anything else. I am proud, in contrast, that Labor took to the last election
a hydrogen policy valued at $1.14 billion, which, was overwhelmingly supported by the
energy community. That policy that would have driven a dramatic increase in that industry.
This is one part of Australia becoming a clean energy superpower. Our commitment to 50 per
cent renewable energy in our hydrogen policy would have produced 87,000 jobs in the economy.
We would have driven strong demand in other parts of the sector. For example, we will
export 15.5 million tonnes of coking coal to satisfy our share of the steel that goes
into wind farms around the world. We’re also the second greatest producer of rare earths
in the world. We’ve got the greatest reserves of iron and titanium, the second greatest
of lithium and copper and the third greatest of silver. We are in a great position to take
advantage of the transition to renewable energy that’s happening all around the world through
exports of our minerals, through manufacturing batteries here, through exporting electricity
directly, either through high-voltage underwater DC cables to South East Asia or through hydrogen
to North Asia. These are all great policy opportunities if only we had a government
with a plan; if only we didn’t have a government that denied the science of climate change;
if only we had a government that hadn’t had 18 energy policies in six years. So we need
action. This government won’t provide it because they’re a bunch of fossils. (Time expired)

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