Barnaby, Byrne discuss Rookwood weir, power prices and coal
IN town for a 'Politics in the Pub' function last night and the National Party's strategic planning meeting today, Mr Joyce was joined by Capricornia MP Michelle Landry to discuss some of CQ's most topical issues.
They discussed weighty topics of building Rookwood Weir and tackling rising power prices by constructing a coal fired power station.
"What would be great for Rockhampton would be Rookwood Weir," Mr Joyce said.
"We've chucked $130 million on the table, put money on the table for the feasibility study and just nothing happens, complete inertia.
"I was here over a year ago trying to get Rookwood going, the state government needs to get going on this, I don't know what's happened to the honourable Bill Byrne, he doesn't seem to be able to push it forward."
Mr Joyce said once Rookwood weir was going they would be able to drive thousands of jobs and over a billion dollars worth of income into Rockhampton.
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne responded saying the funding couldn't be allocated for the project until the business case was complete which due in the third quarter of the year in September.
"That business case will go for consideration by Building Queensland then government will make a decision that will be made public in October when that happens - it's exactly as we said it would be."
"A redacted version will be made public because of the commercial confidence of these business cases.
"Now I don't know what the outcome will be but I can tell you this, if the business case stacks up, I'll be going for it, but I'm not going to have the Rookwood weir built if it means you get a 30% increase on your water rates."
Mr Joyce said to deal with the issue of high power prices, base load power was essential, hence he was driving forward the solution of constructing a new coal fired power station and keeping existing power stations open.
"We're one of the biggest coal exporters in the world and I think not only do we have a duty no only do we use it but we show the world we can use it the most efficiently as possible using high efficiency low emissions coal," he said.
"Other nations are doing it, Germany, Japan and a lot of them are using our coal to put in them, I believe in it.
"I'm doing everything in my power to push in that direction, to try and get the powers that be in Canberra to understand how important this is."
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne responded to Mr Joyce's comments saying the Federal Government was in a mess over energy and Barnaby was front and centre of the illogical, economically unviable and scientifically bereft race to build a Coal Fired Power Station in North Queensland with One Nation.
"Maybe instead of talking about the myth that is 'clean coal' and that a Coal Fired Power Station will solve all our energy needs, he should talk to his own Treasurer Scott Morrison who was crystal clear that it would be an expensive and inefficient option for additional electricity generation," Mr Byrne said.
He quoted Treasurer Scott Morrison who said in The Australian Financial Review, "But let's be real about it. These new HELE plants would produce energy at an estimated two and a half times the costs of our existing coal-fired power stations. They would also take up to around seven years to set up."
Mr Byrne said it just does not make economic sense to spend up to $3 billion of taxpayer money to subsidise this expensive form of energy when industry players such as AGL Energy consider to be unbankable - when there are cheaper and cleaner alternatives that can be delivered in a shorter period of time.