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Question Time: $200M to repair coal-fired Callide, or build a big battery & support workers

In Parliament on Tuesday 15 June 2021, I asked the Minister for Energy whether the Government would rule out spending $200 million dollars to repair the coal-fired Callide Power Station, when that money could be better spent building our renewables industry.

You can read the answer below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: My question is to the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen. Early estimates say that it will cost $200 million and take a whole year to repair the busted C4 turbine at the Callide C Power Station, which is half owned by multinational corporation InterGen. Given that coal is increasingly expensive and unreliable, will the minister rule out wasting public money rebuilding the turbine?

Mr de BRENNI: There you have it, Mr Speaker: the Greens political party has called for the sacking of workers in Queensland’s electricity companies. Well done to the LNP over there, who facilitated that question when they and the Leader of the Opposition ran out of questions on the budget. Again the Greens are lining up with the LNP, who of course are only focused on nuclear and gas. Between the Greens and the LNP over there, nobody in Queensland knows what either of them stand for except selling Queensland workers down the river. Here we have them on the record again calling for workers at Callide to lose their jobs. That is shameful!

On the day of the explosion the Palaszczuk government committed to job security for those workers there, and we continue to do that. Just last week and this morning we made the importance of the diversification of our energy sector very clear. That is why under the Queensland Jobs Fund the Premier and Deputy Premier have committed $2 billion to a Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund for companies like CS Energy, Stanwell, CleanCo and others to invest in their businesses to ensure they can deliver a diversified future. Everybody in this state understands that thermal generation plays a significant role in making sure that we have dispatchable energy. We are not about to come into this place or any other forum and be encouraged by the Greens to sack workers at Callide.

I can update the House as well that I have been advised that the CS Energy board has determined its arrangements into the investigation of that incident, including that it will be led by forensic engineer Dr Sean Brady. He will be working alongside Workplace Health And Safety and the Australian Energy Market Operator to conduct an investigation into that. We will not only see that those workers are not sacked; we will make sure that their health and safety is put first. It is important that these investigations be allowed to run their course with integrity, something which the member for Maiwar might not know a lot about. We will be patient in awaiting their findings.

In the meantime, I can confirm that work is well underway to restoring the Callide power station to operation because we think those workers play a valuable role in delivering cleaner and cheaper electricity, and that supports our job creation agenda. We will always stand by the workers in the energy industry.

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