Time for Qld to rekindle its relationship with coal

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has added insult unto injury by trumpeting a renewables project in the Darling Downs region while dragging the chain on the approval of New Hope’s New Acland extension proposal next door.
Time for Qld to rekindle its relationship with coal Time for Qld to rekindle its relationship with coal Time for Qld to rekindle its relationship with coal Time for Qld to rekindle its relationship with coal Time for Qld to rekindle its relationship with coal

She announced work would begin on Australia's biggest solar farm in southwest Queensland later this year, adding it would create more than 400 jobs and power more than 235,000 homes.

Publicly-owned renewable generator CleanCo will build the solar farm at Chinchilla.

To rub the salt further into the state's coal mining industry's wound Palaszczuk was also the headline speaker at Australia's biggest online renewable energy event this week called the Stimulus Summit: A Renewables-Led Economic Recovery.

The event brought together state and territory energy ministers, industry and community leaders, and prominent academics to "outline a roadmap for simultaneously revitalising and decarbonising Australia's economy".

It seems she was surrounded with a lot of friends from the renewables industry including the CEOs of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Council, Climate Works, Carbon Market Institute, Farmers for Climate Action and Beyond Zero Emissions.

Sadly, there were no speakers from the coal mining industry or coal-fired power supplier companies.

Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes said the COVID-19 economic crisis was Australia's moment to modernise and grow the economy, create hundreds of thousands of "new, future-proof jobs and position Australia as a global renewable energy superpower".

Hogsback wonders if Palaszczuk thought about the 487 jobs that would be created if a clear signal was given by the government on New Hope's plans to extend New Acland mine in the Darling Downs.

New Hope chief operating officer Andrew Boyd there was no barrier to the Queensland government giving final approvals for the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 project despite a possible High Court challenge to its approval by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance.

"We are calling on the Queensland government to immediately grant the required Mining Leases, an Associated Water Licence and approval for the continued use of the Jondaryan loadout facility," he said.

"In September the premier said she was waiting on the Court of Appeal.

"In Parliament … the premier said the Court of Appeal had handed down its decision and that she was sure [Mines] minister [Dr Anthony] Lynham was going through due process.

"We need the merry-go-round ride to stop and the government to give us the approvals we require so we can ensure continuity of operations at the mine."

Palaszczuk seems intent on cosying up to the renewables crowd while giving the coal industry the cold shoulder.

Hogsback reckons it is about time she got her priorities right.