Labor backs second Basslink power cable

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pledged funding for a study into a second electricity cable across Bass Strait.

In an effort to provide long-term energy security for troubled Tasmania, Labor has promised $5 million to build on an existing feasibility study and a loan of up to $500 million from the Infrastructure Financing Facility Fund to help with its construction.

It is estimated a second cable could cost up to $1 billion.

In April, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $40,000 feasibility study and named the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as an obvious source of financial support for the project.

Mr Shorten told 936 ABC Hobart it was important both sides of politics committed to the project.

“We’ve got not only the plan for a feasibility, but the pathway to help finance it, if it stacks up,” he said.

“It means that after July the 2nd whoever you vote for is committed to this project and investigating the feasibility of it. We’ve proposed a $10 billion concrete bank, it’s a loan facility which the Commonwealth underwrites to infrastructure projects which stack up.

“We would seek to put $500 million to be available from this concrete bank and financing to drive renewable energy investment boom and, in particular, securing Tasmania’s energy security for a second interconnector.”

Basslink’s third and final joint of the cable repair was completed and successfully tested in early June. Before then, the power crisis resulted in major industries shedding power loads and the Tasmanian Government importing costly diesel generators to provide back-up power.

“I think it’s important that both sides of politics front up to help Tasmania enjoy a reliable energy supply,” Mr Shorten said.