Humiliating backflip by SA Labor on the critical SA-NSW interconnector

25 Mar 2021

SA Labor is all at sea on the SA-NSW Interconnector, as their leader, environment spokesperson, shadow treasurer and energy spokesperson all put out different positions, and try to rewrite history.

“This backflip has humiliated the shadow energy spokesman, as his strident opposition to the interconnector and his legacy as an energy minister is further undercut,” said the Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“This has left the opposition leader by his own admission guessing on his own policy on live radio, when it was pointed out that his job figures relied upon projects that need the SA-NSW Interconnector to go ahead.”

The quotes say it all:

23/3/21 ABC 891

Peter Malinauskas said:Look, David, we don’t announce opposition to the interconnector…

I guess the position of Labor in regards to the interconnector is ... that’ll stand or fall on the basis of its own private investment.”

(Bevan: No, no, no Tom Koutsantonis thinks it’s a dog of an idea. He has campaigned against it. I don’t know if you’re listening to your energy spokesman.)

“I absolutely am.

(Bevan: He has been campaigning against the interconnector because he says if it’s built it will trash any hope of getting local produced power.)

“It is true that the Government’s interconnector policy does specifically foreshadow basically the end of gas-fired power generation here in South Australia. We don’t want to see the end of our own generation capacity here in our state.”

Susan Close then doubled down on this the next day:

24/03/2021 ABC 891

“Labor has not opposed the interconnector, that will stand or fall on its own right.”

(This is strange considering, their shadow Treasury spokesman was emphatic about their view, consistent with their opposition to it at the last election and ever since).

8/10/2020 on Leon Byner, FiveAA:

Stephen Mulligan: “We think this is a terrible idea. We've got the government here in South Australia, the Liberal government wanting to build this interconnector to basically change what we have at the moment which is in South Australia we've got a huge amount of solar and wind renewable electricity being generated backed up by South Australian gas fired generators.”

Further – the ABC reported on 13/02/2019: “Opposition energy spokesman Tom Koutsantonis described the proposal as an extension cord to New South Wales which put the future of the state's generators at risk."

“They opposed it in 2017. Opposing it was the centrepiece of their failed election campaign and they’ve opposed it ever since,” said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.

“We have been calling on them for years to change their position and admit they are wrong.”

The Australian Energy Market Operator has declared it ‘critical’ for energy security and a ‘no regrets’ measure for South Australia and NSW, and confirmed it delivers benefits on all possible supply/demand scenarios.

Everyone can clearly see that SA Labor has no capacity when it comes to energy policy.

They make flashy announcements, but don’t consider South Australian electricity consumers as their highest priority.