06 Apr Diabolical energy situation costs jobs, opportunities
Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter used Parliament last week to move a motion demanding governments stop costing Queenslanders jobs and economic opportunities by allowing private industry to decide on energy supply.
The Private Member’s Motion moved that the Queensland Government uphold control over major power infrastructure, and that leaving decisions up to private developers meant Queenslanders missed out.
The Motion also called for a commitment to secure the North West Minerals Province by constructing CopperString 2.0 to connect the region to the National Electricity Market and create thousands of jobs.
“Right now in the North West Minerals Province, we have the highest power prices in the industrial world – up to $200 a megawatt hour if you are trying to start a mine in Mount Isa.
“The CopperString project can deliver it around $100 a megawatt hour… and $200 for the majority of users down to $100 is an enormous enabler,” Mr Katter said, urging that the project be made a priority.
He strongly warned against allowing private developers and individual companies to make major energy investment decisions, evidenced by the “diabolical” rollout of gas and LNG policy in Queensland.
“The free market approach let private industry decide, so there were inefficiencies in relation to where pipes went,” Mr Katter said.
“There were three LNG trains, and I think there is a pretty strong argument only one should have been built.
“As a result, all of our gas was bumped up and we lost the competitive natural pricing advantage we had.”
Leaving the decisions to the vagaries of the market also put thousands of regional jobs in jeopardy, Mr Katter said.
“There are hardly any jobs left around those pipes and we have a few left on the LNG trains, but you have smashed the competitive advantage we had on gas pricing which put at great risk the North West Minerals Province.
“The copper smelter, refinery, the biggest fertilizer plant in the southern hemisphere, the phosphate that relies on all the smelter’s sulphur, these thousands of jobs were all based in Townsville.”
Mr Katter said there was $650 billion worth of resources in the North West region, but it had to be enabled with competitive power.
He said after a decade of positive talk around the CopperString project, it now had to be driven to the finish line.
“It is very startling to hear Vast Solar say it’s going to take advantage of higher prices into the future,” Mr Katter said.
“As a Parliament, we must support connecting to the NEM in the North West Minerals Province in order to prosper from it.”