No word on when Government will front Basslink inquiry

Hydro Tasmania
Hydro Tasmania

The parliamentary inquiry into Tasmania’s energy crisis will resume today, but it is still unclear when the State Government will give evidence.

The last inquiry hearing just over a week ago was derailed when the Government pulled out at the last minute, citing legal concerns about an escalation in the dispute between Hydro Tasmania and Basslink.

The Government will meet committee members today for further discussions, after taking advice from the solicitor-general.

Frontbencher Michael Ferguson has reiterated the Government’s pledge to appear, but still is not putting a timeframe on when.

“The Government supports this inquiry, it will provide evidence to it, it will appear, but we will also be taking the advice to protect the Tasmanian community,” he said, as reported by ABC News.

Labor has been pushing for the Government to release any Treasury advice it received on the proposed sale of the Tamar Valley Power Station.

Mr Ferguson said releasing the advice would not be appropriate.

“We won’t be releasing Treasury advice that’s provided to the Treasurer and Cabinet to make good decisions in the public interest,” he said.

Labor leader Bryan Green said he wanted the committee examining the energy crisis to subpoena the information, but believes it will be a bad look for the Government if that has to happen.

“If they have to actually drag documents out of the Government it just goes to show how secretive the Government is and how they’re trying to protect themselves,” he said, as reported by ABC News.

To date there is little detail from any party about the escalation in the dispute between Hydro Tasmania and Basslink.

Mr Green wants any legal advice provided to the Government about appearing before the energy inquiry made public.

“If they are going to go down the path that they need to be protected somehow then they should [release it],” he said.

The inquiry will today hear evidence from Engineers Australia, the Renewable Energy Alliance, the Launceston Flood Authority and Hydro Tasmania.