The Albanese Government’s pre-Budget announcement on 19 October 2022, that the Marinus Link undersea electricity cable will be one of the first investments under the Rewiring the Nation plan, certainly grabbed media attention in Tasmania. And while the announcement represents a significant investment, most of the finance will be provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The October 2022 Federal Budget reports just $75 million in expenditure over 3-years on Marinus Link to “progress the design and approvals phase (including associated on-island transmission augmentation known as the North West Transmission Developments) to a final investment decision in 2024”. As the majority of the project’s funding is off budget, the Institute will consider it separately to the current analysis.
While this may seem like a significant commitment to decarbonisation, other aspects of the Tasmanian environment have been short changed. Where, for example, is the promised support for the Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce? Nor is there any support for the work addressing invasive long-spined sea urchins currently ravaging our east coast reefs and fisheries.
By contrast, Tasmania’s private businesses fared well in the Budget:
- $50.0 million to upgrade the Nyrstar Hobart zinc smelter
- $11.1 million to support Ingham’s Chicken Carbon Zero Certified Business Model in Sorrel
- $6.1 million to upgrade the Waverley Wool Mills
- $2.4 million for a feasibility study of Whaleback Energy Park
- $2.1 million to expand the Costa Group’s berry distribution centre, and
- $2.1 million to support a feasibility study to replace the coal-fired boiler at the Norske Skog Boyer mill in New Norfolk.
Tasmania can also look forward to a $1.3bn GST revenue increase over the next four years, as well as infrastructure investments across irrigation ($100m), roads ($48m), and Hobart airport ($60m).
As usual, the federal budget spent comparatively well in northern, marginal electorates, including $24.6 million over 4 years on northern health care initiatives.