The globe’s climate emergency is Australia’s jobs opportunity – but only if we take it.
The Courier Mail revealed today that Morrison’s Minister for Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, has used extraordinary NAIF powers to kill a $380 million energy project in North Queensland.
The Kaban Wind Farm and grid augmentation was set to deliver 250 jobs in North Queensland, and 157MW of more affordable power for households and businesses.
The work on the grid was also to deliver more reliable power for Cairns, and unlock the potential for a further 150MW of energy projects.
This is jobs, jobs and more jobs for North Queensland.
The board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility greenlit the project in December, but in a first even for this Government, Keith Pitt has quietly used powers granted to the Minister in NAIF legislation – to veto the project.
His reasoning? It is ‘inconsistent with the objectives and policies of the Commonwealth Government.’
The Government has consistently failed to bring QLD and Australia the scale of new energy jobs that, with our workers and resources, should be our bread and butter.
But killing a $380 million project and its 250 jobs because it’s against their non-existent energy policy - that’s a new low.
The NAIF, or ‘No Actual Infrastructure Fund’ under this Government, has only managed to deliver 6 percent of its funding announced six years ago.
At this rate it will take nearly 80 years to release the full $5B promised to Northern Australia – now it finds a project to fund and the Minister secretly knocks it off.
When these NAIF powers were introduced to the Parliament by Josh Frydenberg, it was claimed they would only be used ‘to ensure projects which are contrary to the national interest are not funded.’
Ripping the rug out of 250 energy jobs in North Queensland is not in the national interest.
Labor backs energy workers in North Queensland and the households and businesses that want lower bills – not playing politics with regional jobs.
The following can be attributed to Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen:
North QLD should be getting 250 new energy jobs and cheaper power bills, but they’ve been hung out to dry.
There’s $380 million of investment that Keith Pitt is holding hostage from the Nth QLD economy because of Government energy policy.
QLD has the resources and the workers to continue to power the country and the world, but a Government that is leaving them behind.
The following can be attributed to Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Murray Watt:
The NAIF has been notoriously slow at getting money out to projects, since it was announced six years ago.
Now that it finds a project to fund, the Minister secretly knocks it off.
This Government’s ideological obsession against renewables is costing jobs and lower power prices. They are holding regional QLD back.