Queensland will continue to do the heavy lifting to meet Australia’s energy needs after Chief Scientist Alan Finkel briefed first ministers on his report into the National Electricity Market.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Dr Finkel’s recommendation that Australia progress towards the establishment of a Clean Energy Target was an important step towards ensuring a reliable and affordable energy future for Queensland and the rest of Australia.
“Dr Finkel‘s report highlights the stressed and dysfunctional nature of the east coast energy market,” the Premier said.
“With southern states refusing to utilise their own gas resources the burden once again falls on Queensland to step up – and we will.
“That is why my government announced the release of an additional 395 square kilometres of prospective tenements in the Surat Basin that would be used solely to supply the Australian gas market.
“That area complements a 58 square kilometre area released under a pilot program earlier this year.
“That enhanced gas resource is part of the ‘Powering Queensland Plan’ I announced earlier this week, which invests $1.16 billion in ensuring the future security and sustainability of Queensland’s power supply, while putting downward pressure on prices.”
The Premier said the market had already acknowledged that Powering Queensland Plan was the right approach to addressing affordability.
“In the 24 hours after our announcement on Monday, forward wholesale power prices fell by 10% in Queensland, and by 4% in NSW – a price reduction that remains evident,” she said
“While southern states are facing price hikes over 15-20% on their power bills, my government has been able to keep the rise in household electricity prices to an average 1.9% per year over three years.
“That’s because we’ve been able to use the levers we have available in our state due to public asset ownership to put downward pressure on electricity prices.
“Households in Queensland and across Australia want to know that the lights will stay on and the bills won’t balloon.
“Business requires certainty to create jobs and make investment decisions.
“Investors require certainty and the proposed Clean Energy Target appears to provide one option to navigate the present impasse.”
The Premier said the Queensland Government would be seeking to gain a greater understanding of the details of the proposed mechanism and power system modelling before making any decision.
“We will maintain an open mind to the recommendations of the Finkel Review which require thoughtful consideration,” she said.
COAG also agreed to Premier Palaszczuk’s proposal that Attorneys-General and Police Ministers consider a nationally consistent approach to organised crime legislation.