Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is for the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. I refer to the minister's pre-election commitment to spend $4 million of taxpayers' money to deliver a feasibility study for a Collinsville power plant. Can the minister confirm the Auditor-General's finding that the company said it couldn't deliver a feasibility study with this grant but the government gave the grant away anyway? Doesn't the Auditor-General's scathing finding confirm that this was a grant to deliver votes, not energy, and now it won't even deliver a piece of paper?
I thank the member for McMahon for his question, his first question in his new role after his predecessor was sacked. This is a question that relates to the coal industry. We know his views on the coal industry, but we took to the election a commitment to a feasibility study for new generation projects and other projects to support the stability and security of the grid in Queensland, based on work that was done that said that security needed to be looked after. We're supporting a 1.5 gigawatt hydro scheme at Urannah. We're working with the Queensland government on the electrification of Curtis Island. And, of course, there's the feasibility study that he, a moment ago, referred to.
Let me be clear in response to his question: the department recommended the grant. The department made the unequivocal recommendation. Let me read from the ANAO report. It said that the two funding recommendations met the requirement for clear recommendations that funding be awarded to each applicant. That's what the department said, because, unlike those opposite, the department understands that Australia needs affordable, reliable generation in this country. It needs a balance of energy sources to do that, whether it's renewables, gas or coal. Those opposite are opposed to the reliable, affordable generation that Australians need.