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Question Time: Coal Industry and Jobs Transition Plan

During Question Time on 10 May 2022, I asked the Premier about a transition plan for coal workers.

You can read the full question and answer below, or in the Official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard). 

Mr BERKMAN: My question is to the Premier. Last week the energy minister said that Queensland will not close a single coal-fired power station in the next 10 years while the coal industry lobby group QRC says that every single coal-fired power station in Queensland could close within 10 years. Why is the government refusing to face reality at the expense of a transition plan for coal workers?

Ms PALASZCZUK: I thank the member for the question. As I have said in this House on numerous occasions, Queensland is very blessed to have an abundance of coal, gas and renewables, and we are seeing a huge investment happening in renewables and people will see in the budget that there have been some record prices for coal recently.

We are also seeing a big issue with world energy prices due to what is happening in Ukraine. The huge investment in this state in renewables is phenomenal. People like Andrew Forrest are investing billions of dollars in this state because this government is open to working with large companies because we can see the future. That future is bright when it comes to hydrogen. Four years ago I was one of the first leaders in this country to go to Tokyo and recognise that hydrogen was going to be something bold and bright for this state. I asked my ministers to put a plan in place and now we are reaping the benefits of that forward thinking. Not only are we doing it but now other states are doing it and both the federal government and the opposition are also moving in this space as well.

Mr Berkman: What’s that got to do with coal-fired power?

Ms Grace: It’s very important!

Ms PALASZCZUK: Yes, it is very important. We have coal-fired power station at the moment operating in Queensland. We have large amounts of gas in this state and the LNG is being exported around the world. We now have this phenomenal investment in our state in renewables and we are embracing that with open arms. Unfortunately it is not the Greens that are doing it, it is people in government who are doing it—setting these goals and making them happen. We can go back to when we looked at putting solar panels on people’s rooftops. Bundaberg has the record at the moment for the largest town with the highest number of solar panels on their rooftops.

Ms GRACE: Schools.

Ms PALASZCZUK: That’s right, we looked at schools as well. It was this government that announced the first EV charging station right up and down the highway. It has not happened in New South Wales yet. I was told a story recently where someone’s car ran out of charge halfway to Queensland. There are, of course, examples like Tritium which is now on the global stage—small companies going big.

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