10 November, 2017
Courtesy of the Townsville Bulletin
THE emergence of a secret report into the benefits of a new high efficiency low emission (HELE) power station demonstrates how distorted the politics of our energy system are becoming.
Voters are right to be cynical when a report commissioned with taxpayers’ own money is kept secret from them for nine months, only for the Palaszczuk Labor Government to acknowledge its existence when forced under the spectre of an election.
North Queensland deserves better. Record high power bills and lack of choice in the North are key issues for families and businesses who should have faith that a State Government elected by them is open to any and all solutions to the crisis.
Sadly in the chase for green votes in Brisbane, Labor has chosen preferences over sensible energy policy.
There have now been three separate reports that confirm a new HELE power station would lower power prices and reduce emissions – the Townsville Enterprise and GHD report, the Solstice Development Services report commissioned by the Minerals Council and Labor’s own secret report by consultants Energy Edge.
A new HELE power station in North Queensland should be a central part of unlocking the region’s future economic potential.
Lower power prices and more competition to Ergon would help underpin business investment and make the region attractive for manufacturing, as their operations are driven out of energy expensive states such as South Australia and Victoria.
This is over and above the jobs and economic growth a new HELE power station would deliver directly – almost 9000 jobs would be created during construction and operation, according to modelling done by GHD.
Rather than embrace a progrowth and cheap energy framework for the North, Labor has decided to head down the path of South Australia with an extreme renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030.
The “renewables at any cost” approach has led South Australia to experience damaging statewide blackouts and earn the title of “world’s highest power prices”. That’s not an outcome likely to be supported by voters sensitive to cost of living concerns, chief among them high power bills.
With key marginal seats in play in North Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should rethink her energy policy before polling day on November 25.
Labor is caught between trying to save Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s seat in South Brisbane from a concerted Greens campaign.
But North Queensland’s future should never be at the mercy of Greens voters in South Brisbane.
The region deserves its own baseload HELE power station to deliver economic growth and energy independence.
On November 25, voters in the North will have a choice: lower power prices and energy independence with a new HELE power station, or higher power bills and a future dictated by the whims of Greens voters more than 1300km away in South Brisbane.