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The Queensland Government is calling for feedback on new draft legislation to enshrine the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan in law.

The draft Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill 2023 establishes the framework to provide clarity and certainty to consumers, workers, investors, and industry as the state transitions to renewable energy under its Energy and Jobs plan. 

Renewable energy targets will be legislated at 50 per cent by 2030, 70 per cent by 2032, and 80 per cent by 2035.

The legislation will also support 100 per cent ownership of Queensland’s power line transmission and distribution network, and deep multi-day storage from world-class Borumba and Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro projects.

Queensland will maintain its majority share of generation, currently averaging 54 per cent, while there will be a strong role for the private sector in delivering renewables, other storage assets, and innovative energy technologies.

A world-first Job Security Guarantee and Fund will secure energy workers’ access to jobs, training and financial assistance. 

The legislation sets up planning and governance frameworks to ensure an orderly transition – including Renewable Energy Zones, Queensland Energy System Advisory Board, Energy Industry Council and the Queensland Renewable Energy Jobs Advocate.

Views of stakeholders and community will refine the Bill, with definitions and methodology to be developed with unions, advocates, industry, and investors, with engagement already underway.

The plan sets out a pathway to bring 22GW of new wind and solar projects by 2035, supported by grid-scale batteries and pumped hydro storage. 

Independent analysis projects 100,000 jobs will be created through the transformation.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said, “We are building the Queensland SuperGrid, which will provide the backbone to our new energy system to transport renewable energy across the state. 

“Queensland also has some of the best wind and solar resources in the world, which is why we are seeing so many renewable energy projects planned or underway. 

“The legislation will also provide security for our energy workforce as the energy transition occurs, makes sure no worker is left behind, and legislates our commitment to public ownership.”

More than $62 billion of investment will be injected with at least 95 per cent in regional Queensland. 

Queensland Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, said, “Queensland’s blueprint for achieving decarbonisation, the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, is the most ambitious of any government in Australia. 

“Our plan is only possible because we have retained public ownership of our energy assets and this Bill helps protect that ownership.

“We’re putting Queensland on the map as a global leader in renewable energy and reducing energy system emissions by 96 per cent by 2040.

“We’re also building our local manufacturing capacity because we will need thousands of batteries, wind turbines, solar panels and kilometres of transmission lines – and we want that equipment built here in Queensland, so Queenslanders get the benefits.”

Queensland Treasurer, Cameron Dick, said, “Labor has the vision to invest in new industries such as renewable energy, critical minerals, battery manufacturing, and green hydrogen. 

“These projects include the CopperString 2032 electricity transmission line, the Townsville and Gladstone Hydrogen Hubs and the Pioneer-Burdekin and Borumba Pumped Hydro schemes. 

“Regional Queensland will be front and centre to take advantage of the thousands of jobs that will be supported by these projects.” 

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said, “These laws make real our commitment to 96 per cent reduction in energy emissions by 2040 and the forecast of 100,000 Queensland jobs, the majority in regional Queensland. 

“By enshrining public ownership in law, we make sure Queenslanders will continue to control the energy transition in the interests of reliability and affordability.

“We started the development of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan by considering how we look after workers and the communities in which they live first, and these laws are designed to ensure only a change of government could take that away.” 

The closing date for feedback is 23 June 2023.

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