"With official emissions data revealing today that emissions under Labor have risen 3.6 million tonnes this year, the Greens have said that (Chris Bowen) and Labor's talk of climate action is gaslighting when they continue to open new coal and gas projects" stated Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Greens, adding: "There are 10 coal and gas projects on Tanya Plibersek's desk that will create 10 times more pollution than what the government's weak 2030 targets will save." (Greens, 30 November 2023).
At this point, I believe Labor completely lost any credibility relating to, or rationale around the Hunter Offshore Wind Turbine Project.
It made a mockery of their insane "we do clean energy" rush to erect 300+ floating wind turbines (each up to 260m high) into the sea adjacent to the pristine John Gould Marine Reserve.
This coastal reserve is a stunning group of islands just off Hawks Nest beach, designated as World Protected in 1954, home of the endangered Gould's Petrel subspecies.
However, the breathtaking hypocrisy of Labor's recent fossil fuel approvals (more carbon emissions and more fossil fuel exports), is not the only reason why I rally against this ill-conceived project.
At some point during the short, insincere, and obscure consultation process for this project, I know that conservationists, scientists, ornithologists, and locals documented serious concerns: "66 per cent of submissions were opposed to the proposal, with 19 per cent of people that were opposed having specific or other concerns. 31 per cent of submissions were supportive of the proposal, with seven per cent of these noting that they had specific or other concerns'' (DCEEW, July 2023).
I know Labor did not listen nor care.
On July 12, 2023, the area comprising 1854 square kilometres was declared by Chris Bowen to be "suitable for offshore wind" electricity generation.
At this point it was evident from their map that Labor had ignored all concerns.
It was evident in the physical siting of the declared area, located 20 kilometres offshore, adjacent to Port Stephens, Hawks Nest beach, and the Myall Lakes National Park.
The rows of turbines will completely cut off wildlife access to the marine reserve, particularly for the Gould's Petrel (Cabbage Tree Island) and the Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Broughton Island).
It was evident because the island group did not even appear on Bowen's map of the offshore wind zone (DCEEW, July 2023).
Despite Bowen's declaration, the same conservationists, scientists, and locals did not stop voicing their concerns. But now they have become NIMBYs, climate change deniers, coal lovers, pseudo scientists, and selfish simpletons standing in the way of clean energy transition. None of which is true.
These are all easy insults that enable Labor's terrible decision to go unchallenged.
They enable a simplistic, sanctimonious, and hateful narrative that suppresses any constructive debate or compromise.
That perhaps the John Gould Marine Reserve is worth saving from the damage the massive turbines, blades, cables and tonnes of concrete anchors will inflict.
That the reserve could continue to be conserved for future generations of people and wildlife.
Perhaps conservationists and locals who have spent their lives protecting and nurturing the reserve do not want to "watch the planet burn" but nor do they want to sacrifice biodiversity for electricity.
That perhaps they support renewables being rolled out but not like this.
Not at this cost.
And now there are even more costs evident.
Labor is intent on using the apparently uncapped and recently expanded Capacity Investment scheme (CIS) to fund the project.
Billions of taxpayer dollars will be expended on construction and ongoing subsidies.
Supply chain risks and workforce issues are already evident.
Labor also appears to have failed to cost the decommissioning of aged or broken turbines which cannot be recycled and will need to be buried as is in landfill or left on the seabed.
Finally, there is no evidence this project will substantively help to improve grid reliability or cut our electricity bill.
So, I rally because Labor has recklessly rushed this project regardless of the costs.
Worse still, opposition to this project has recently been framed by some proponents as a threat to national security.
They use the spectre of Labor's Communications Legislation Amendment (Combating Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023 to scare and silence critics, further stifling what should be constructive democratic debate.
So now many of the same conservationists, scientists, and locals are concerned about their job security, reputations, and their future. Information is now often shared on the condition of anonymity and hope of their future engagement in the project process is fading.
I rally to try to get people to rethink the precise location of the Hunter Offshore Wind Turbines with respect to the 70 year old John Gould Marine Reserve.
I rally to get people to take time to think about this issue and about options, and to help.