Queensland budget throws cash across all energy types

INDUSTRY is celebrating the release of the Queensland government’s budget, as it aims to reduce regulation, commits A$500 million to fund new renewable energy projects as well as boosting support for hydrogen development.
Queensland budget throws cash across all energy types Queensland budget throws cash across all energy types Queensland budget throws cash across all energy types Queensland budget throws cash across all energy types Queensland budget throws cash across all energy types

Mark Tilly

Journalist

Mark Tilly

Debt levels are expected to soar to almost $130 billion within four years, however the government is characterising the large spend as pro-growth and pro-business.

The budget is offering a range of stimulus measures for the energy sector as the Palaszczuk government, vindicated after its decisive election win in October, stays the course on energy investment. 

It sets aside A$29 million to go toward exploration grants, and $3.3 million of which will go toward helping boost gas and mineral exploration through the Strategic Resources Exploration Program. 

"In addition, to help keep explorers on the hunt we've also waived $9.8 million in state rent to back explorers and have frozen exploration fees and charges until 1 July 2021," resources minister Scott Stewart said. 

"Gas infrastructure will also be critical, that is why we are investing $5 million over the next two years on investigating potential new gas pipeline infrastructure to connect gas reserves in the Bowen Basin to domestic customers and exports."

 

It's committing a further A$10 million over the next four years to its Hydrogen Industry Development Fund, bringing the total fund amount to $25 million, as it races the other states in developing its own industry.

"The $10 million commitment extends the support available to the emerging hydrogen industry in Queensland and is expected to lead to both construction and highly skilled operational jobs with the majority of investment interest in regional Queensland," energy, renewables and hydrogen minister Mick de Brenni said. 

The fund's next round will be open for applications in January 2021, with de Brenni noting there had so far been four successful recipients under its first round, including in Townsville, Brisbane, Gladstone and the Scenic Rim. 

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association welcomed the budget measure to integrate the Queensland Productivity Commission into Queensland's Treasury to establish the Office of Productivity and Red Tape Reduction. 

"New measures to reduce regulation and red tape will help to drive continued investment and certainty, which is the key to ensuring long-term growth as well as promoting the development of Queensland's oil and gas resources," APPEA Queensland director Georgy Mayo said. 

"Unlocking new oil and gas resources and acreage for development will help to build wealth, economic resilience and whole-of-economy gains for Queensland and the national economy."

The largest amount of cash however is going to the renewables sector, with the government committing half-a-billion dollars to its Renewable Energy Fund, aiming to kick off the next generation of renewable projects over the next four years. 

"Our publicly owned energy businesses Cleanco, Stanwell, CS Energy, Energy Queensland and Powerlink now have the opportunity to get their piece of the half-billion dollar fund to build own and operate renewable assets and transmission infrastructure that will drive jobs in the clean energy sector," De Brenni said. 

Another $145 million will go toward establishing three renewable energy zones in southern, central and northern Queensland, as the government moves to meet its 50% renewable energy target by 2030. 

"Already investors are lining up to get into these renewable energy zones with around 192 projects putting their hands up to build new, renewable generation and energy storage projects across the state," de Brenni said.

"Part of our post-COVID recovery plan includes investing in traditional infrastructure and supporting the renewables industry because that in turn supports jobs."