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Speech on the Government's new 10 Year Energy Plan

On Friday 14 October 2022, I gave an adjournment speech on the Government's new 10 year Energy Plan. 

You can read my the full speech below, or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard)

I want to say a few words about the government's Energy and Jobs Plan. I have to say, it has been almost surreal this week to hear the government talking about this plan. It is almost as though we suddenly have a heap of extra Greens MPs in this place! Of course, that may well be the case in a couple of years time, and I would say that is precisely why the government has shifted its tone so quickly and clearly on climate and coal since the federal election result.

Seriously, though, there is some really good stuff in this plan. There is progress on things that the Greens have been calling for for years: more publicly owned renewable energy, earlier retirement of coal-fired power generators and, finally, a job security guarantee for energy workers. It is obviously not just the Greens; ENGOs, business groups, economists, climate scientists and unions like the ETU have all worked really hard for this.

At the 2020 state election the Greens brought a plan for 20 gigawatts of new, publicly owned renewable energy by 2030. This plan proposes 22 gigawatts by 2035. It is not quite on the mark but it is real close. We do not yet know how much of that will be privately owned, though. For all the talk about publicly owned assets, under this government's current policy and plan the best indication we have yet is that up to half of Queensland's power generation could be privately owned. We should be aiming for a 100 per cent publicly owned renewable energy system, not a mishmash of public and privately owned or a mix of renewables and dirty polluting gas. The government's plan includes no time lines or plans to entirely get off gas. In fact, it includes a new gas plant at Kogan Creek.

The government also plans to keep opening up new coal and gas projects indefinitely. Let's be clear on this: Queensland's fossil fuels, no matter where they are burnt, will make climate change worse. It is the same atmosphere. It will heat our climate and lead to more disasters, disease, food insecurity and conflict. We are staring down the barrel of another devastating flood season so, no matter what positive climate impact the Energy and Jobs Plan has on our domestic emissions, this government's climate policies will make climate change worse.

The new energy plan, I guess, is a clear indication of Labor trying to stem the bleeding to the Greens. If they want some more policy suggestions, we have plenty. I will give them a few more: stop approving new coal and gas; update our statewide emissions reduction targets so that they do not reflect those of the former Morrison government; include resource sector workers in transition planning; and bring our entire energy system back into public hands.

The timing of this seismic shift in Queensland Labor's energy policy is no coincidence. Queensland Labor now holds only two more seats in federal parliament than the Queensland Greens. To any Queenslanders who are excited about this progress I would say: just think what we can achieve when power sharing becomes the norm in this place, with more Greens elected into the Queensland parliament. To the minister I say: good work, I look forward to the detailed briefing and you're welcome—no need to thank us personally—for the Greens having won you the factional clout you needed to get this plan through cabinet.

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