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Morning doorstop

1 June 2017

Subject: Energy in Queensland, base load power, Adani Carmichael Mine, Paris Agreement on climate change.


MINISTER CANAVAN: We are facing a crisis in our manufacturing sector in Queensland at the moment. We often think about our resources sector as just digging things up out of the ground. It's much more than that. We also add a lot of value to our resources. There are aluminium smelters, alumina refineries, copper refineries, zinc refineries. We have all the natural minerals to then value add to those products, and we do a lot of that particularly in Queensland near our minerals provinces. But to do that requires a lot of energy, it requires a lot of power. And we have access to cheap power sources in North Queensland as well.  We’ve got some of the world's greatest and best coal fields to do that very thing. But right now, we have a Labor Party, a Queensland Labor Government that is turning its back on our coal resources, and saying they don't want to build any more coal-fired power stations in Queensland.

At the moment we don't have a base load power station north of Rockhampton. In a whole vast area in north Queensland, there is no base load power station at all. And people in North Queensland want us to consider building a coal fired power station in the north, to bring down their power costs, to guarantee their jobs and to make sure that we continue to add value to our resources so we're not just shipping everything on a boat for other countries to use. It's our coal and our minerals to combine into value added products and creating jobs.

We had a situation last week, and I welcome the fact that the Queensland Labor Government has got on board with the Adani Coal Mine, which would see enormous coal exports going to India. But apparently we're allowed to ship our coal to another country for it to burn, but we can't use that very same coal ourselves. It makes no sense. The coal does not become clean on the boat. It's the same product here as it is over there. And if we are exporting it to the rest of the world, we should at least consider its use here in Australia as well. That's why the Labor Party should get on board our moves to reform the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and allow CCS to be considered. It's why the Labor Party should drop their ban on coal-fired power stations. Let's look at all options to bring down power bills, keep jobs and manufacturing in Australia and help households with their power costs as well.

REPORTER: What do you make of the reports that President Trump looks like pulling out of the Paris Agreement?

MINISTER CANAVAN: Well look, that's a matter for the United States. We remain committed to the Paris Agreement. Australia is a country of its word and we signed up to this agreement. And as we have with other international agreements including the Kyoto agreement, we intend to meet our obligations.

REPORTER: And you had Senator McKenzie talking about - how important is it for regionals areas with these media reforms?

MINISTER CANAVAN: I do very much applaud the efforts of Senator McKenzie too. She played a crucial role in making sure that these changes protect news services in regional areas. There was some concern in regional areas about getting rid of the reach rule for example. But I think we've all come to the position that the market has changed, that in the age of internet TV and apps, we can't have a situation where we try and quarantine 25% of the country from the rest. So we need to reform and update those rules, and in doing so we need to protect regional news services. And these changes do that, by putting more stringent regional news obligations on local news providers. So that's something that I think is vitally important to maintaining commercial news services in regional areas. It's so important to small country towns those services. It's not just about the news, it's about the community. It helps people come together as a community when they know what's going on, local events are promoted. And it's always very fragile because in smaller communities it's harder to make those services stack up commercially.