Basslink ‘no show’ at parliamentary inquiry

Water pipeline to Hydro-Electric power station at Tarraleah, Tasmania
Water pipeline to Hydro-Electric power station at Tarraleah, Tasmania

One of the main players in Tasmania’s energy crisis has dealt a major blow to a parliamentary inquiry, refusing to appear.

The inquiry is examining the unprecedented crisis that came after the Basslink cable broke last December, and Hydro Tasmania’s dams were at record lows.

The committee has already heard from Hydro Tasmania and other stakeholders, but Basslink confirmed to ABC News it would not be appearing.

“The terms of reference make it clear that the inquiry is to investigate the financial position and performance of the Government-owned energy businesses,” Basslink said.

Basslink noted it is a privately owned business that has contracts with the state and with Hydro Tasmania, saying “there are others far better placed than us to comment on the financial position and performance of those businesses”.

The Public Accounts Committee has the power to subpoena witnesses, but Basslink is not based in Tasmania.

Labor Leader and former Energy Minister Bryan Green said Basslink’s failure to appear suggests “there’s something to hide”.

“It erodes business confidence in our state,” he said, as reported by ABC News.

“We’ve always said there should be a full, independent inquiry into the energy crisis, and this sort of highlights why.”

Mr Green said it was crucial for Basslink to give evidence so Tasmanians could get a greater understanding of the energy crisis.

“Basslink should be coming along, Tasmania is a major customer of theirs, obviously we pay the facility fee through Hydro Tasmania for their link,” he said.

“Their link is an important part of Tasmania’s future from the point of view of securing business.”