Labor must answer questions over Huawei’s role in Victoria’s electricity network

Reports today that show Chinese government-owned company, Huawei, is providing crucial equipment to a solar farm which will power 50,000 homes are deeply concerning.

This controversial company was banned from partaking in Australia’s 5G mobile infrastructure network in 2018 by the Federal Government, due to national security concerns, with the head of ASIO, Mike Burgess, referring to Huawei as a “high risk vendor”.

The Gillard Government also banned Huawei from involvement in the NBN in 2012

At that time then-ASIO chief, David Irvine said banning Huawei from involvement in critical infrastructure was not political but “based solely on security matters”. 

So, federally, both sides of politics have agreed Huawei poses threats to national security, with a bi-partisan agreement that Huawei shouldn’t be involved in critical infrastructure projects.

But under Daniel Andrews and Labor in Victoria, equipment provided by Huawei is being used in critical electricity infrastructure which will power 50,000 homes.

The Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio, must answer several key questions about this issue:  

  1. Did the Minister know Huawei was involved with this project before today’s reports? If not, why not? 
  2. How many other energy projects across Victoria is Huawei involved with? 
  3. If the Minister doesn’t know how many projects Huawei is involved within Victoria, why not? 
  4. If the Minister doesn’t know the number of projects involving Huawei, will she commit to finding out?
  5. Is Huawei involved with any other projects that receive direct State Government funding? 
  6. Does the Andrews’ Labor Government’s Belt-and-Road Agreement with the Chinese Communist Government in any way further facilitate Huawei’s involvement in Victoria’s electricity network? 

Minister D’Ambrosio’s office said evasively in response to today’s revelations that Huawei’s involvement was “a matter for the private company” building the projects.

That just simply isn’t good enough.

Victorians should know that our electricity infrastructure may be at risk due to the involvement of companies that have been deemed a national security risk by both sides of politics since 2012.

Minister D’Ambrosio must do her job and ensure suppliers who pose national security risks are in no way supported in Victoria.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Energy and Renewables, Ryan Smith:

“Why does the Andrews Labor Government allow Huawei to be involved in our electricity network when both sides of federal politics have agreed it poses a potential threat to national security?

“Daniel Andrews and Lily D’Ambrosio must explain why their government indirectly supports a company described by our intelligence services as ‘high risk’ and a threat to national security.”

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