The Coalition has fired a warning shot at the Albanese Government today following the launch of consultation for the Western Australia Offshore Wind Zone, demanding meaningful engagement with the community.

“Chris Bowen is on notice,” declared the Coalition’s Climate Change and Energy spokesman, Ted O’Brien.

“Labor has been steamrolling regional communities in a desperate attempt to make up ground on its failing 82% renewables plan, and the people of Western Australia won’t cop being taken for mugs.”

“The community must be put at the centre of this engagement process if a genuine social license is to be secured.”

The rebuke follows a string of contentious offshore wind consultation processes which has whipped up impassioned grassroots campaigns across the country to oppose Labor’s wind zones.

Poor engagement practices have plagued Labor’s Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen, with residents consulted on other offshore wind zones labelling his process a ‘box ticking exercise’. 

Concerns stem from a lack of information provided by the Government about the potential impacts of the project and no assurances that the local economy, environment and way of life won’t be damaged.

Local Federal MP’s Nola Marino MP and the Hon. Andrew Hastie MP say their communities have already expressed deep concerns about the proposal.

In representing their respective communities the MPs have put an ultimatum to the Albanese Labor Government, to ‘come clean and answer the community’s questions or risk never securing a social licence.’

Federal Member for Canning and Shadow Defence Minister, Andrew Hastie raised serious concerns about the proposal.

“What will this do to our coastal lifestyle, and how much damage will this cause to recreational and commercial fishing?

“And why should struggling Australians shoulder the cost of Labor’s ideological obsession with renewables,” Mr Hastie questioned.

“Labor wants communities like mine to carry the burden of replacing proven coal and gas power with renewables, but it won’t provide any assurances to my community as to how much it will cost – or what its impacts will be.”

Federal Member for Forrest, Nola Marino said locals need answers to so many questions about this proposal.

“Local people have plenty of very reasonable questions and concerns,” Mrs Marino said.

“For example, the impact on recreational and commercial fishing.”

“Then there’s the prospect of exclusion zones around turbines during construction, servicing and operation, and the ultimate responsibility for decommissioning and rehabilitation of the sites.”

“South-West communities really love our marine environment and its natural beauty.  We don’t want it destroyed for future generations”.

“I’m really worried the regions continue to carry the burden of Labor’s policies,” Mrs Marino said.

Mr O’Brien said the Coalition has a technology agnostic view towards energy infrastructure, but it considers a social licence a pre-requisite to progress any major project.

“The Coalition has adopted an ‘All-of-the-Above’ approach to Australia’s electricity system which embraces a balanced mix of technologies,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Decarbonising will be difficult and so we need all technologies on the table, but this does not obviate the need for major projects to first secure social licence from impacted local communities.”

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