Feds to look at Tully hydro
A NORTH Queensland MP has called for the resurrection of the large Tully Millstream hydro- electricity project, and a federal minister has agreed to consider the proposal.
Hinchinbrook LNP MP Andrew Cripps has written to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan seeking support for an updated feasibility study into the 600MW project, which could power 175,000 homes and cut carbon emissions by more than one million tonnes a year.
Mr Cripps said the time was right to revive the project given the Federal Government’s support for northern Australia and a $ 2 billion expansion of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme. Also, he said the environmental debate had shifted to reducing emissions and to renewable energy.
The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation undertook detailed work on the Tully Millstream scheme but it was abandoned in the late 1980s with the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
About 4300ha of land northwest of Tully would need to be inundated for water storage, of which Mr Cripps said 1290ha was within the World Heritage Area. He said there needed to be a “trade off” for the loss of this area to enable the project to proceed.
“As a North Queenslander and a North Queensland MP, I have waited a long time for the policy agenda to suit a serious proposal to revive the Tully Millstream Hydro- electric Scheme,” he said.
“I believe that time is now. Another generation of North Queenslanders should not be denied the opportunity to benefit from this major piece of economic infrastructure.
“Ever since the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area derailed the TMHS, there has been a deep and sustained level of resentment in North Queensland that the region was robbed of a major piece of economic infrastructure and the benefits that would have flowed from it.”
Senator Canavan said he was “happy to consider” funding an updated study as an option under the Federal Government’s water infrastructure development fund.
“If it could be something for an energy and water need, that’s fantastic,” he said.
Senator Canavan said North Queensland needed electricity system stability, particularly with the development of renewable projects.
“We need a balance. Coalfired power would do that but so would a large hydro turbine as well,” he said.