Labor’s proposed investment in hydrogen is a shameless attempt by Bill Shorten to divert attention from his abandonment of Central Queensland’s thriving coal industry.
LNP Senator and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said unlike Labor, the Coalition was already supporting both a potential hydrogen industry and the existing coal sector.
“Bill Shorten is using a flimsy distraction to try to hoodwink Queenslanders about his lack of support for the coal industry,” Senator Canavan said.
“Central Queensland desperately needs jobs today and there are thousands of jobs available if governments support coal jobs.
“The Galilee basin is a massive resource and the Adani Carmichael project is ready to go now – it is only being stymied by Bill Shorten’s State Labor colleagues who are determined to kill it to secure support from the Greens.
“Labor is offering only false hope to Central Queenslanders because Labor has offered no new money on major projects today and there is no guarantee funding would be spent on Central Queensland.
“Labor’s announcement of $1 billion from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation does not represent any new investment because the CEFC can already invest in hydrogen. Any talk of some kind of hydrogen plant under a Labor Government in the future is a pipedream because I am sure Labor and the Greens will find some finch or frog to stop such a major project, just as they are trying to do with the Adani mine.
‘Further, there is no guarantee from Labor that funding would be spent in Central Queensland. In fact the biggest hydrogen project in Australia at the moment is in Bill Shorten’s home state of Victoria.
“Central Queensland will also suffer under Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target and 50 per cent renewable energy target. Jobs at the Boyne Island smelter near Gladstone would be at risk under such policies, which would also increase the cost of electricity and potentially cost thousands of local jobs.
“The people of Gladstone and the wider region want jobs now by supporting major industries like the aluminium smelter – not false promises, more debt and higher taxes.
“Hydrogen is a long way from offering significant numbers of jobs for Australians. The Australian Government is investigating and investing in hydrogen technologies, with more than $100 million invested in supporting hydrogen projects.
“We are working with the states through COAG on a hydrogen roadmap and led the commissioning of a national hydrogen strategy for 2020-2030 which will be completed by the end of this year.
“But we are realistic that the commercial use of hydrogen is probably decades away. In contrast, coal is Australia’s biggest export, it employs thousands of people and thousands more could get jobs if Labor ended its unholy alliance with radical green activists and backed jobs.”