Tasmanian Inquiry head sounds warning against political grandstanding

Tasmanian Energy Minister Matthew Groom
Tasmanian Energy Minister Matthew Groom

Political bickering will not be tolerated at Tasmania’s energy crisis inquiry, the head of the parliamentary committee running it has warned.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein and Energy Minister Matthew Groom will make their much-anticipated appearance before the inquiry tomorrow.

The pair withdrew the night before an earlier scheduled appearance due to a legal escalation between Hydro Tasmania and the owner of the Basslink undersea cable

Mr Groom said he was looking forward to telling his side of the story and myth-busting claims made by the Labor Opposition.

“I think what history will show is that all of those assertions were wrong and I look forward to busting those myths, and the committee has a full understanding of what transpired,” he said.

“I think it’s important that Tasmanians understand just how critical the energy supply plan was to avoiding a catastrophic outcome to the Tasmanian economy.”

Chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, independent MLC Ivan Dean, said he was not interested in the politics surrounding the issue.

“It really annoys me that yes, we have to wrestle with that from time to time — and that is the case with all joint house committees,” he said.

He said the Government would not be allowed to focus on Labor.

“If it did, I would be as a chair diverting the questions back to where the committee wants it, and that would be on the terms of reference, and Mr [Bryan] Green isn’t involved in the terms of reference,” he said.

Labor MLC Josh Willie said it was important to hear the full details of the Energy Minister’s decisions.

“I think the public would be interested in his details on what he did and when, and he needs to come clean at the hearing this week,” he said.