Queensland LNP a green-tinged chameleon: KAP

Queensland LNP a green-tinged chameleon: KAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has discredited his own party at the state-level and inadvertently supported a Katter’s Australian Party policy demanding Australians be provided the cheapest electricity possible by ceasing taxpayer-provided subsidies that are propping up inefficient renewable energy generation at the expense of cheaper options.

Speaking to the media today on the topic of the Federal Government’s JobMaker policy and future energy plan, the Prime Minister said coal was key to Australia’s energy future and that renewables no longer needed to be subsidised.

“Falling technology costs will help put downward pressure on prices and emissions over the decades to come,” he said.

“They have also brought grid-scale wind and solar generation to economic parity with traditional sources of generation.

“Renewables like solar and wind don’t need subsidies. What they need is integration.”

Last week the KAP brought forward a parliamentary motion on energy policy, calling for recognition of the value of coal-fired power and a commitment from government to cease costly renewable power mandates, subsidies and investment programs that are disrupting the electricity sector’s level playing field.

The push was not supported by either major party.

Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said he had expected nothing less from coal-phobic Labor, but was shocked the Queensland LNP failed to stand up for common-sense policy that would support cheap power and secure regional jobs in the face of the global pandemic and Australian recession.

Mr Katter said it appeared, once again, that the Queensland LNP had not got the memo on what its convictions actually are.

“If the Prime Minister can acknowledge the role of coal in our economy and the hypocrisy of constant subsidies for renewables, then why can’t the Opposition Leader and her Members and candidates?” Mr Katter said.

The Prime Minister outlined very clearly this morning his government’s position on Australia’s energy future.

“In Australia, you cannot talk about electricity generation and ignore coal,” Mr Morrison said.

“For decades, coal-fired generation has been a source of competitive strength for our economy – reliable low-cost energy. This is still true.

“Analysis by the energy market operator shows coal-generation is still expected to comprise almost a quarter of the national electricity market in 2040.

“Coal will continue to play an important role in our economy for decades to come. With new technology such as carbon capture and storage continuing to improve, it will also have an even longer life; not just here in Australia but in our export markets as well.”

Prime Minister Morrison also revealed that around $30 billion worth of taxpayers’ money had been invested in renewables from 2017 to mid-2020.

“In 2019 we saw investment at more than three times the per capita rate of countries like Germany, China or France,” he told the press.

Mr Katter said the Queensland LNP’s position was particularly confusing given appeals made by Federal LNP politicians in recent days to the CFMEU, seeking the union’s support at the upcoming Queensland Election.

In an email to CFMEU’s Queensland mining president Stephen Smyth, LNP Senator Matt Canavan told the union the LNP “understands the importance of workers and, in particular, those workers in the coal industry”.[1]

He further told the CFMEU to “walk the walk” and that the LNP would love to work with the union on “campaign-related tasks.

Mr Katter said the Queensland LNP’s stance on coal was more like that of former Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, rather than the Prime Minister.

“They tell us in North Queensland they support coal, but when it came time to nail their colours to the mast in Parliament, they squibbed it,” he said.

“How are we to know where their loyalties truly lie if they can’t figure out their position on something as vital as this? What hope do we all have?”

[1] “Campaign for us: LNP proposal to arch enemy CFMEU”, Courier Mail, September 14, 2020, Retrieved from: https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/campaign-for-us-lnp-proposal-to-arch-enemy-cfmeu/news-story/738f37a32e4b2e115561192e1869d4b9

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