Nationals MPs say a new coal-fired power station in central Queensland is vital to support the state’s manufacturing sector, with Barnaby Joyce urging Scott Morrison to “just start building” a low-emissions plant in Collinsville.
Shine Energy chief executive Ashley Dodd told The Australian he was hoping to secure government support for a low-emissions plant in Collinsville, in the Bowen Basin, through a loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
NSW Nationals MP Mr Joyce, Resources Minister Matt Canavan and Queensland Nationals MPs Michelle Landry and Ken O’Dowd said on Wednesday they wanted the project to go ahead after a government-funded feasibility study into the plant was concluded.
The Prime Minister commissioned the study on the eve of the election after coming under pressure from Mr Joyce and Queensland Nationals.
Mr Joyce, who supports NAIF funding for the Collinsville project, urged the government to fast-track the study, due to begin next month, and support a coal-fired power station in central Queensland.
“We are going through the dance of a feasibility study but we have got the coal, we have got the water and we have got the requirement,” he said.
“We should just start building the damn thing.”
Senator Canavan said the project was a major reason central and north Queensland swung in favour of the Liberal National Party. “It was a big part of our message though the Bowen and all the mining towns, as it was in Townsville,” he told The Australian. “Even young people in Townsville massively support the construction of a coal-fired power station.
“If we walk away from the benefits that coal-fired power provides, we are putting at risk thousands of jobs in the manufacturing industry, especially those in Townsville, in copper and zinc, and in Gladstone aluminium.”
Anthony Albanese, who backs the export of Australian coal, ridiculed the proposal.
“I have said very clearly I do not believe there will be new coal-fired power stations built in Australia,” the Opposition Leader said.
“If it was going to occur, it can occur at any time. There is no law against it. The market is speaking and the market is saying renewables are the cheapest form of new energy.”
Mr Dodd condemned Mr Albanese for talking down his proposed project.