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$2.5bn on a coal-fired power station? That's good old pork barrelling


The Queensland Liberal-National party (LNP) are promising that if they are elected to government they'll build a new coal power station in northern Queensland. And just this week the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced that if Queenslanders elected the LNP at the next state election, all Australian taxpayers would help fund it.

Such a move by state and federal governments to build a major power station represents an extraordinary break from two decades of policy consensus that government should leave electricity generation to the private sector. The Queensland LNP just one government term ago, was actually planning on divesting itself completely out of the power business. At the time it argued the private sector would be far more efficient at running such assets. At a federal level the Liberal-National government just a few years ago was handing out bonus payments to the states to encourage them to sell out of power and other infrastructure assets.

So you'd think such a radical break from a long-standing and strongly held policy position would be backed by some very hefty justification. Especially when it involves $2.5bn.

Key Points

  • Queensland Liberal-National party (LNP) are promising that if they are elected to government they'll build a new coal power station in northern Queensland
  • Malcolm Turnbull, announced that if Queenslanders elected the LNP at the next state election, all Australian taxpayers would help fund it.
  • banks and power companies have made it clear they aren't remotely interested in funding such a plant
  • According to analysis for the Australian Energy Market Operator such a plant would cost taxpayers $2.5bn
  • Such a move by state and federal governments to build a major power station represents an extraordinary break from two decades of policy consensus that government should leave electricity generation to the private sector
  • Queensland's overall electricity demand over the year averages out at less than 6,000MW and according to the Energy Market Operator it isn't likely to grow much;
  • Meanwhile it has 8,186MW of coal power plant capacity, not to mention another 3,297MW of gas.
  • Over the past four years Queensland's biggest coal power station - Gladstone - has been operating at less than half its capacity
  • That's why the LNP think spending $2.5bn of our money on a power station that doesn't make environmental or economic sense, still makes perfect political sense.


Tags: leftwing.info, leftwing, news, australia, politics, political commentary, labor, Environment, Politics, Coal, Liberal, Australia, Queensland, Clean Coal, Malcolm Turnbull, Energy
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