NQ power chal­lenge on

Sen­a­tor at­tacks Finkel Re­view in move for coal- fired en­ergy

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON EX­CLU­SIVE domanii. cameron@ news. com. au

A COAL- FIRED power plant must be built in North Queens­land as a mat­ter of ur­gency if in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity costs are to be sup­pressed, a One Na­tion sen­a­tor says.

Mal­colm Roberts will to­day re­lease an in­de­pen­dent re­port into Aus­tralian chief sci­en­tist Alan Finkel’s cli­mate change doc­u­ment.

The re­port, Im­pacts on the Aus­tralian Econ­omy and Aus­tralian Con­sumers, con­ducted by Dr Alan Mo­ran, “paints a dire pic­ture” for North Queens­lan­ders, warn­ing mas­sive elec­tric­ity price rises will con­tinue and re­gional jobs are fac­ing the axe un­der the Finkel rec­om­men­da­tions.

The outspoken Queens­land sen­a­tor said elec­tric­ity prices were a na­tional emer­gency.

“If the fig­ures stack up and a proper eco­nomic anal­y­sis is done first, a North Queens­land coal- fired power sta­tion must be built as mat­ter of ur­gency,” Sen­a­tor Roberts said.

“A coal- fired power sta­tion will pro­vide re­li­able and cheap elec­tric­ity for North Queens­land’s man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try in par­tic­u­lar.”

The re­port fol­lows last month’s re­lease of the Finkel re­port, which con­cluded a clean en­ergy tar­get ( CET) was the most ef­fec­tive way to re­duce emis­sions.

A CET would pro­vide in­cen­tives for all gen­er­a­tors to pro­duce elec­tric­ity be­low a cer­tain thresh­old for emis- sions. But Dr Mo­ran’s re­view found the Finkel rec­om­men­da­tions were based on “un­re­li­able and un­re­al­is­tic as­sump­tions and fore­casts”.

It said the Finkel Re­view’s im­pli­ca­tions would dev­as­tate the econ­omy and slug av­er­age house­holds up to $ 768 more each year in elec­tric­ity costs.

Dr Mo­ran re­jected Dr Finkel’s rec­om­men­da­tions and said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment should abol­ish the re­new­able en­ergy tar­get and scrap all sub­si­dies to bod­ies such as the Clean En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor and the Clean En­ergy Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion. His rec­om­men­da­tions en­tail dis­man­tling en­ergy mar­ket reg­u­la­tions that were forc­ing low- cost re­li­able coal- based elec­tric­ity to be sub­sti­tuted for high- cost un­re­li­able wind and so­lar.

Bur­dekin One Na­tion can­di­date Sam Cox said he sup­ported a coal- fired power plant in North Queens­land.

“I’m very ex­cited about this re­port com­ing out,” he said.

“Res­i­dents, busi­nesses and in­dus­try want cheaper elec­tric­ity.”

Sen­a­tor Mal­colm Roberts.

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