We’re be­ing sold hype

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

FOR a while in the wake of QNI’s col­lapse last year, it seemed the only peo­ple do­ing well were re­moval­ists, as the newly job­less joined a con­voy of mis­ery out of town.

Now the re­moval­ists are here again ... mov­ing in em­ploy­ees of Townsville’s new­est cor­po­rate cit­i­zen, Adani.

Within weeks, 80 work­ers at the min­ing gi­ant’s Palmer St head­quar­ters and their fam­i­lies will be rent­ing out homes as the com­pany rum­bles to­wards its Carmichael coal mine project.

Eighty homes is the first proof pos­i­tive that Adani will de­liver a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial fil­lip to this city.

As they move in dur­ing the next month, they will im­me­di­ately be­gin in­ject­ing cash into the lo­cal econ­omy.

They will un­doubt­edly sam­ple our restau­rants and cafes, clubs and pubs.

They’ll try out a hair­dresser, take a ferry to Mag­netic Is­land, take the kids to a Cow­boys clash, get the car cleaned, and their lawn mowed.

You get the pic­ture. The mul­ti­plier ef­fect of new jobs be­gins its magic. And that’s just the start. If Townsville is suc­cess­ful in its bid to host fly- in fly- out min­ers, the city will soon be bulging with Adani em­ploy­ees.

Mean­while, Wat­pac has brought for­ward its sta­dium timetable to be­gin works on Au­gust 18.

So we will soon see the Ross Creek site fill­ing up with earth­movers and hard hats.

Down the road, Sun Me­tals is ramp­ing up its so­lar farm construction, one of a string of mas­sive so­lar projects that will bring more work­ers here.

There is no doubt that Townsville is on the move again. The ar­rival of Adani em­ploy­ees, the sta­dium start and the so­lar rev­o­lu­tion are de­liv­er­ing a badly needed kick­start to the city.

And as their pres­ence be­comes in­creas­ingly vis­i­ble, the pos­i­tiv­ity sur­round­ing these projects will spread.

Confidence is con­ta­gious. It’s the one dis­ease we’d be happy for ev­ery­one here to catch. PREMIER Palaszczuk and her min­is­ters seem to think North Queens­lan­ders will be­lieve any­thing if it is dressed up with hype and the words “save the Reef”.

Take the Bur­dekin Dam hy­dro­elec­tric power sta­tion, for ex­am­ple. They say this is crit­i­cal to the de­vel­op­ment of NQ; it will be the cat­a­lyst to drive in­vest­ment and pro­vide the base load power gen­er­a­tion we need.

Ms Palaszczuk boasts it will pro­vide 150 gi­gawatt hours ( GWh) an­nu­ally. Sounds very im­pres­sive ... but un­for­tu­nately it’s a con.

A 17 megawatt ( MW) gen­er­a­tor will pro­vide 150GWh an­nu­ally but 17MW will not make an iota of dif­fer­ence. NQ needs a new 1000MW High Ef­fi­ciency Low Emis­sions ( HELE) base load coal­fired power sta­tion.

La­bor crows about its $ 300 mil­lion hy­dro com­mit­ment but rarely states it is still sub­ject to a fea­si­bil­ity busi­ness case. $ 300 mil­lion for 17MW of gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity equates to $ 18 mil­lion per MW. A new 1000MW HELE plant will cost $ 2.2 mil­lion per MW.

An­other ex­am­ple: The Premier claims that by keep­ing power gen­er­a­tion as­sets state owned, elec­tric­ity prices will be lower.

By 2030, half of all elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated in Queens­land will be from pri­vately owned re­new­ables.

The state owns none of the new large- scale so­lar projects. The Palaszczuk Govern­ment fur­ther con­tra­dicts its state- owned ben­e­fits claims by com­mit­ting to pref­er­en­tial 20- year con­tracts to buy the elec­tric­ity from the pri­vately owned gen­er­a­tors.

The more elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated by these pri­vately owned projects, the less elec­tric­ity that is gen­er­ated by the state- owned gen­er­a­tors. The Govern­ment has to ac­cept lower rev­enue and then ma­nip­u­late the whole­sale mar­ket to off­set this rev­enue loss.

In 2015 the Palaszczuk Govern­ment, in its first bud­get, trans­ferred an ad­di­tional $ 4.1 bil­lion of debt to Govern­ment Owned Cor­po­ra­tions ( GOCs). Our sta­te­owned power en­ti­ties are now so debt bur­dened that they can­not fund any new gen­er­a­tion projects. New projects are now pri­va­tised.

The road to ruin that lies be­fore us is fur­ther pot­holed by the fact the Govern­ment seizes 100 per cent of the “net prof­its” from the power gen­er­at­ing GOCs.

This leaves the GOCs with­out any funds for debt re­pay­ment and no ca­pac­ity to fund cap­i­tal works/ new in­vest­ments.

Un­der the Palaszczuk plan, by 2030 half of all power gen­er­ated will be by pri­vate en­ti­ties. By 2050 it will be 100 per cent. The large state- owned base load coal- fired power sta­tions will have to close.

Ms Palaszczuk can claim she never sold our state- owned elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors. How­ever, she will have closed them, lost all the rev­enues and all the per­ma­nent mine and power sta­tion jobs. This will hap­pen with­out Queens­lan­ders re­ceiv­ing a dol­lar from her pri­vati­sa­tion by de­fault.

This let­ter provides just two ex­am­ples of self- serv­ing pol­i­tics be­fore pol­icy and the Palaszczuk Govern­ment be­liev­ing it can fool the peo­ple with hype.

North Queens­lan­ders, look at the facts. Com­mon sense will tell you are be­ing treated as fools.

Trust your gut in­stincts and do not go down the Palaszczuk road to ruin. BARRY LOWE, Kir­wan.

ROAD TO RUIN: An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk’s plans are hope­less for the NQ.

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