New Queensland coal-fired power station fails to gain Government support, despite Nationals push


March 27, 2019 00:14:23

Federal Nationals MPs have failed to convince the Government to underwrite a new coal-fired power station.

Key points:

  • Federal Government declines to include new coal-fired power projects on shortlist for underwriting
  • Queensland National MPs and senators want the government to build a Queensland coal power station
  • PM announces a $10 million study to assess Queensland’s energy needs

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a shortlist of ventures the Government will consider underwriting in a bid to meet Australia’s energy demand.

No Queensland coal projects made the list.

Earlier this month, six Queensland Nationals wrote to their leader Michael McCormack calling on him to “take immediate action” to “underwrite new generating capacity [power station] construction for regional Queensland”.

The letter, which noted industry and consumers were at “their wits’ end” because of exorbitant energy costs, fuelled speculation Mr McCormack’s leadership was at risk.

The 12 projects, selected from 66 proposals, included the upgrade of an existing NSW coal-fired power station linked to Coalition donor Trevor St Baker at Lake Macquarie.

The Government will also consider underwriting five gas and six hydro projects across South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

“I stress not invest in, not provide money to, not provide any taxpayers’ funds to, but seek to underwrite the price position for particular energy projects that would be necessary to shore-up finance to allow those projects to proceed,” Mr Morrison said.

As part of the announcement, the Government also committed $10 million, over two years, to study the best way to meet the demand of energy-intensive industries in north and central Queensland.

Mr Morrison said the feasibility study would consider a new high-efficiency low-emissions coal project at Collinsville, in the state’s north, as well as upgrades to existing gas and hydro projects

“There is no commitment to underwrite or support any of those projects, we want to do the proper analysis to work out which project delivers on the need,” Mr Morrison said.

Nationals MP and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce responded to the announcement, posting on Twitter “so we have got ourselves a Coal Fired power station for Qld. Very good”.

Later, speaking at a Mundubbera farm, Mr Joyce said Queensland must use its resources to provide cheaper energy.

“This is their birthright, and we as a state and as a nation must provide it for these people,” Mr Joyce said.

“We must be able to build the power source, a coal-fired power station, or if you want to drive gas-fired power, or if you want to change the scheme of the arrangement and put in nuclear you must provide power, so that people who are vulnerable can stay just slightly cooler than the roof in Dirranbandi.”

“We must deliver what is an essential facet of their life, and that requires building a coal-fired power station. Well, get out and build it, and build it now.”
















First posted

March 26, 2019 18:54:45

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