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The Queensland  Government’s 2023-2024 Budget has allocated $19 billion to the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, as well as a Cost of Living Rebate that will benefit all Queenslanders. 

The State’s publicly-owned energy businesses are leading Queensland’s energy transformation, investing in new wind, solar, storage and transmission, supported by the $4.5 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund.

In 2023-24 alone, Queensland’s six publicly owned energy entities will make a capital commitment of $5.465 billion, significantly strengthening their capability to lead the sector’s transition to cleaner sources of supply.

The budget is intended to demonstrate the commitment to maintaining 100 per cent public ownership of Queensland’s electricity transmission and distribution networks, as well as 100 per cent ownership of large-scale, long-duration energy storage systems.

The State Government said public ownership ensures profits from the state’s major electricity assets are funnelled back into the pockets of Queenslanders in the form of dividends and rebates.

Major investments

The 2023-24 Budget outlines  $1.483 billion for additional electricity bill support to Queensland households and small businesses facing cost of living pressures, as outlined in the Cost of Living relief rebates.

The 2023-24 Budget also accelerates build-out of new backbone transmission and storage infrastructure to boost capacity of the State’s new SuperGrid, cornerstone investments of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan announced in September 2022.

Powerlink will invest $594 million in 2023-24 to kick-start the CopperString 2032 high voltage link that will unlock billions of dollars of new critical minerals mining in the North West Minerals Province and significant new renewables around Hughenden.

Powerlink will also invest $193.8 million in 2023-24 to support the connection of major renewable projects to the grid, including the proposed 2GW Borumba pumped hydro energy storage and Australia’s largest onshore wind project, the 1GW MacIntyre Wind Precinct south-west of Warwick.

Energy Queensland’s $2.042 billion capital program is also focused on network reliability and renewable hosting capability and includes $150 million to continue the roll-out of network batteries, decarbonise isolated networks, and support renewable generation across Queensland, as well as $99.9 million for network replacement in the Mackay region.

2023-24 will see Stanwell Corporation invest a further $221.2 million towards the development of the 252MW Wambo Wind Farm and $200 million to commence construction of its 100 per cent owned and operated Tarong West Wind Farm, as well as $251.8 million for new grid-scale batteries within Queensland’s southern and central Renewable Energy Zone regions.

In 2023-24, CleanCo will continue to grow its renewable portfolio with a $171 million down-payment on the $500 million announced to support the development phase of new wind and solar projects in Central Queensland, as well as $41.5 million to build and install a 250MW big battery at Swanbank Power Precinct near Ipswich, which is transitioning into a Clean Energy Hub with the potential for onsite solar and green hydrogen production facilities.

Queensland’s three publicly-owned generators are together investing around $384 million for upgrades and maintenance at existing state-owned power stations, safeguarding supply while renewable generation ramps up.

Queensland Hydro will invest $183.7 million to progress the 2GW Borumba Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project near Gympie, at the same time as undertaking the detailed feasibility study into the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project west of Mackay.

Cost of Living Rebate

Queenslanders are benefiting from public ownership of their energy system with the 2023-24 Budget delivering the largest cost-of-living relief package in the nation.

The State Government revealed the 2023-24 Cost of Living Rebate will be more than three times the size of the previous year’s rebate.

All Queensland households will automatically receive the rebate and, as a result, will have the lowest effective power bills in the National Electricity Market.

Elderly and the most vulnerable Queenslanders will get the greatest relief, receiving total support of $1,072 per household in 2023-24 including a $700 cost of living rebate – partly funded with the Commonwealth under the National Energy Bill Relief Fund – and $372 through Queensland’s existing Electricity Rebate Scheme.

All remaining households will automatically receive a $550 rebate on their electricity bill in 2023‑24.

At a time when electricity bill increases are being seen across Australia and the rest of the world, these rebates will fully offset typical Queensland household electricity bill increases in 2023-24.

Small businesses will also benefit, with about 205,000 eligible small businesses receiving a $650 rebate on electricity bills in 2023-24 to cut the cost of doing business in Queensland, plus $35 million for the Queensland Business Energy Saving and Transformation Program, which includes targeted support for agriculture to enable advice and contribution to energy efficiency measures and infrastructure.

The budget also allocates $70 million over two years to deliver energy efficiency measures and advice to tens of thousands of eligible Queensland households to directly support energy efficient appliances and household batteries, keeping costs down for households, enabling more choice and greater energy equity.

Government comments 

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is both bold and achievable.

Only Queensland has such a comprehensive, detailed plan to transition its energy system in a way that creates 100,000 jobs, delivers job security to energy workers and slashes emissions,” Mr de Brenni said. 

“Whether it’s in hydrogen, batteries, wind, solar, hydro, traditional generation, transmission, distribution or most importantly Queenslanders themselves, this budget invests to ensure the plan delivers on our target of 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032.”

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said 2023-24’s budget empowers the State’s publicly owned energy entities to drive Queensland forward toward more affordable and more reliable renewable energy.

“It represents the most significant investment ever in Queensland’s publicly owned electricity system and will help us power Queensland with 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032 and 80 per cent by 2035.

“This year’s capital program positions our publicly owned energy entities to lead the clean energy era and support thousands of jobs.

“It empowers them to work with industry to seize every opportunity from the renewable energy boom to create skilled jobs and power new mining and manufacturing industries.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the $550 cost-of-living relief will go a long way to help Queenslanders feeling the financial pinch, while the most vulnerable will be further looked after during this tough economic climate.

“We are delivering substantial support that offsets typical household electricity bill increases in 2023-24, with electricity providers applying the credit automatically, making it easy to apply.

“These rebates are largely due to the fact Queenslanders own a majority stake in their electricity system.

“Over the past five years, Queensland households have received $1,125 in rebates.”

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