Labor, Greens ‘trapped’ into opposing $3.3m project
Opposition resources spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon says the Government deliberately set a test for Labor over federal funding for a new coal-fired power plant in north Queensland.
Labor and the Greens yesterday co-sponsored a motion to disallow a $3.3 million funding instrument for Shine Energy to complete a feasibility study into a proposed power station at Collinsville, southwest of Townsville.
Mr Fitzgibbon said the Coalition, which pledged before the last election to support a business case for high-efficiency, low-emissions project, could have funded the work "off the budget" instead of giving Labor a chance to try and block it.
"They deliberately made this, what we call a disallowable instrument, so that we have the opportunity to block it and that's all they want," he told a Canberra radio station.
"They want the Labor Party blocking the feasibility study and so we never know about the feasibility and they can claim that Queensland could have had a new generator if it were not for the Labor Party.
"That's what this is all about."
He said Labor was not blocking a new coal-fired power plant, but opposing the use of taxpayer funds on a feasibility study.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said Labor's attempt to disallow the funding was yet another attack on jobs in Queensland by an increasingly divided party.
"The coal industry is an integral part of our economy," he said.
"It is the lifeblood of many regional communities, creating lasting direct and indirect jobs for Australians."
Queensland Nationals including Resources Minister Keith Pitt, Senator Matt Canavan and MPs Michelle Landry, George Christensen and Phil Thompson have been pushing strongly for the project.
However some of their Sydney-based Coalition colleagues were yesterday talking down the future of any new coal-fired power projects, despite agreeing the study should proceed because it was an election commitment.
The Greens were understood to be disappointed at how Labor handled the disallowance motion, believing they had brought it on before working to secure the numbers to ensure that the move could succeed.
Originally published as Labor, Greens 'trapped' into opposing $3.3m project