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Queensland Election 2020: Party policies and commitments

An outline of the individual energy (and related) commitments of the major parties and key minor parties as at 23 October 2020. The Clean Energy Council’s clean energy recommendations for the election are outlined here.

The Queensland state election will be held on Saturday 31 October, with Labor vying for a third term under the leadership of Annastacia Palaszczuk, and the LNP seeking to return to government under the leadership of Deb Frecklington.

Due to COVID-19, voting has, however, been underway for three weeks, with the possibility that only one-quarter of voters will cast their vote on election day.

Labor goes into the 2020 election holding 48 of the 93 seats in the Legislative Assembly. According to the ABC, a loss of two seats on a swing of just 0.7 per cent would end Labor’s majority. The LNP holds 38 seats and needs eight seats for majority government, or a swing of about 3.4 per cent.

Of the two major parties, the incumbent Labor Government has presented the most favourable policies to support renewable energy to date, which include its 2030 target of 50 per cent renewable energy, and funding support to establish three new renewable energy zones. Labor has also committed to spend $30 million to support a solar roll-out for the state’s hospitals as part of a broader energy efficiency push.

The LNP has expressed its general support for renewable energy but has stated that it will not commit to a renewable energy target. It has however expressly ruled out state taxpayer funds being used to support a new coal-fired power station, a proposal which is currently the subject of a feasibility study at Collinsville, that is being supported with Federal Government funding.

Labor -
Renewable energy target and commitments:

• 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
• Invest $500 million in a new Renewable Energy Fund to enable Queensland energy corporations to invest in new publicly-owned renewable energy assets.
• Invest $145 million to establish 3 renewable energy zones across Queensland.
Distributed Energy Resources:
• Invest $30 million in installing PV solar systems which will generate renewable electricity at around 50 sites across Queensland as part of energy efficiency projects in Queensland hospitals.
Manufacturing and training facilities:
• Support two new training centres - Queensland Apprenticeship Centre in renewable hydrogen at Beenleigh and a new renewable energy training facility in Brisbane.
Transmission:
• Support CopperString 2.0 by entering into an implementation agreement to underwrite the initial investment costs for the company including the EIS if necessary, in addition to investing $14.8 million to fast-track support for the project.
Hydrogen:
• Invest $10 million to continue developing Queensland’s hydrogen industry – will partner with industry on hydrogen projects.

Liberal-National Party (LNP) -
Renewable energy targets and commitments:

• Supports renewable energy but will not commit to current targets, supports national targets.
• Will mandate investment by government-owned companies in renewable energy generation.
• Has ruled-out State Government funding for a new coal-fired power station.
Recycling:
• Initiate reverse auction to establish a solar panel recycling facility in Queensland.
• Expand recovery facilities and launch a public education to reduce e-waste going into landfill before legislating a ban on the practice by 2024.
• Work with Queensland universities to establish centres of recycling excellence to encourage innovation in the industry.
• Fund a $50m trial to increase green road construction from recycled plastic and develop new guidelines for future road-building projects.
• Fast-track planning approvals for new and better recycling infrastructure.

Greens -
Renewable energy:

• Reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 by building publicly-owned renewable energy .
• End electricity privatisation in Queensland and establish Energy Queensland as a democratic, public authority responsible for all retail, network and generation in Queensland .
• Create an average of 23,000 jobs a year building publicly-owned renewable energy: Invest $25 billion through Energy Queensland in building 20,000 MW of publicly owned wind, solar, and energy storage, including utility batteries and pumped hydro, over four years.
• Invest $6.4 billion in new transmission lines, unlocking the enormous renewable energy potential across regional Queensland.
• Ban the use of labour-hire for renewable energy projects and guarantee leave entitlements and sick pay for every job.
• Establish a $2 billion fund to help communities establish cooperatively-owned renewable energy projects to give communities direct ownership of renewables.
• Ensure cheap battery storage for every household by establishing a $1 billion household and small business battery storage rebate scheme.
• Create a fairer feed-in tariff to ensure people get a fair price for their rooftop solar.
Manufacturing:
• Build a publicly-owned solar panel factory in Townsville and wind turbine factory in Rockhampton to lay the foundations for a thriving renewable manufacturing industry in North and Central Queensland capable of manufacturing a combined 500 MW of wind and solar capacity per year by 2023, creating local 1500 jobs a year.
• Build a prototype green steel manufacturing plant in Gladstone aiming to begin production within 5 years providing the foundation to establish a green steel industry that will create 15,000 good, secure jobs.
• Establish a Queensland Manufacturing Authority with $1 billion of seed funding to provide low-interest loans and grants to fund clean energy manufacturing projects in Queensland.
Planning:

• Make sure all major developments are “Impact Assessable”.
• Strengthen community objection rights.
• Close loopholes in the Planning Act.
• Restrict construction noise.
• Ban development in flood-prone areas.

Katter’s Australia Party -
Transmission:

• Support CopperString 2.0.
Distributed Energy:

• Introduce a scheme for grants and subsidised loans for primary producers to install solar pumps for irrigation and stock watering, as well as rooftop solar for homes and workshops. Will be targeted at properties not currently connected to electricity grid.