THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the focus of an ACCC report calling for more competition in the electricity market, including more baseload power alternatives to underwrite supply for industry.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said energy costs were one of the biggest inputs for the resources sector.
“The resources sector relies on stable and affordable power to support a range of jobs, including at mine sites and in associated industries such as processing and refining,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We welcome the National Energy Guarantee and look forward to it being settled between the Commonwealth and the States.
“But the ACCC report released today drives home that greater competition and long-term stability of energy supply is needed in the National Electricity Market (NEM), and that action is necessary to underwrite new sources of dispatchable power.
“North Queensland would be the ideal location for a High-Efficiency, Low-Emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station that could help reinforce the NEM with reliable dispatchable power.
“If we want to keep our resources jobs, and create more in the future, we must have access to affordable and reliable energy.
“It’s fitting that the Prime Minister spoke in Queensland today to further outline the importance of settling the National Energy Guarantee, because Queensland is the leader in resources and energy development on the East Coast.
“Queensland is home to the high-quality thermal coal that is powering advanced low-emissions coal-fired power stations in Asia, and we have developed the gas industry that has ensured the southern states here in Australia can keep the lights on. Our state is also the national leader in investing in renewables.
“We must continue to make the most of our natural resources, and Queensland can continue to lead the country with the addition of new advanced, baseload power for the NEM. This will support jobs and investments across the East Coast, especially with the addition of a stronger interconnector with NSW.
“We call on both the State and Federal Governments to support a full range of energy sources and technologies to add the extra baseload power into the national grid to support resources jobs and industries.”
The ACCC report also makes recommendations directly relevant to Queensland, including a recommendation that Queensland’s generation assets should be split into three portfolios which are separately owned and operated. It also recommends that action should be taken to address over investment or gold-plating of electricity networks.
The QRC calls on the State Government to give appropriate consideration to those recommendations in the interests of reducing costs to all energy users.
PROFESSIONALS working in the decorative lighting sector are alarmed about proposed changes to the National Construction Code.
The National Construction Code regulates the design and construction of new buildings and redevelopments across the country. Under the draft slated to take effect in July 2019, existing allowances for decorative lighting will be significantly reduced. The manufacture, design and engineering of decorative lighting supports 2500 jobs across Australia.
Trent Dutton, President of the Illuminating Engineering Society (Australia New Zealand), is worried that the changes will have a significant negative effect.
“We have seen very little technical data to support the proposal and we suspect that limited assessment has been made of the economic impact of the change on our industry,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton is also concerned about the impact of the proposal on his company Rubidium Light, a lighting design and engineering company headquartered in Brisbane but operating across Australia.
“I worry that these kinds of increasing government interventions will end up making the places Australians live, work and play become dull, uninspiring and unproductive places," he said.
“Australia’s lighting engineering and design sector has some of the most talented people in the world. Governments should be cultivating this industry, not jeopardising its future.”
The concerns of Mr Dutton and the Illuminating Engineering Society are shared by the peak bodies representing lighting supply and manufacture and lighting engineers.
“Many of our members manufacture high-quality, bespoke lighting fixtures for lighting installations across Australia," said David Crossley, acting CEO, Lighting Council Australia.
“We’ve seen too many manufacturing companies driven to the wall and we’ve seen that once we lose manufacturing jobs, they are gone for good. Government needs to step in and halt this proposal before it is too late.”