Media Releases & Transcripts


August 27, 2021



SUBJECTS: Government refusing to release the Collinsville feasibility study.


PAUL CULLIVER, HOST: Will Australia ever build another coal fired power station? Pretty much any energy expert you speak to, says the investment appetite is not there, the appetite of course does exists amongst politicians in the LNP. That is all true, so much so that at the last Federal Election a feasibility study was taken as a promise. Over $3 million to investigate whether a coal fired power station should be built in Collinsville, the question is, where is that feasibility study up to and would the Federal Government support it? Well, Senator Anthony Chisholm is with the Labor Party, he is a Queensland Senator and has been trying to get to the bottom of this, good morning to you Senator.


SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Good morning, Paul. Good to be with you.


CULLIVER: What's the latest?


CHISHOLM: Well this week in the Senate, I moved, what is an order for production of documents, where we asked the Government to lay on the table this study that has been conducted into the feasibility of a coal fired power station, so we know through some of your good work, I think it was in early June where you put the Minister under pressure and you said that Senator Canavan said that this document is sitting on the Minister's desk. Well, you've got to remember that $3 million, that's mums and dads and taxpayers in Rockhampton that have funded that, and across the country. Surely if this study is sitting on the Minister's desk we deserve to see it in full, and I can't understand what the delay is and it's disappointing that the Government opposed this motion and voted that down with the support of One Nation, and we're still none the wiser about what this study actually says.


CULLIVER: Yeah, we had the Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor on this program. I asked him or Matt Canavan the Senator had told me that they had it. Angus Taylor would not answer that question. I then got a text message from his media people about an hour later, after that, after that interview telling me that they had not received that feasibility study but Angus Taylor the Minister would make no commitments about releasing it before the next Federal Election. This motion has been voted down is that the end of it then?


CHISHOLM: Well, I'll still pursue this and my broader concern about this is that when I hear LNP members in the area, talk about a new coal fired power station in Collinsville, for me, that actually means the early closure of Stanwell and Callide and puts those power stations under significant pressure. So anytime you hear Matt Canavan or Michelle Landry talk about a coal fired power station in Collinsville, that actually means that Stanwell and Callide, are under pressure earlier. So, this for me is the big picture part of this is, that it actually could mean them advocating for Collinsville means that Stanwell and Callide close sooner than they need to, because there isn't actually that need for the capacity of what Collinsville is.


CULLIVER: Though, any build, this is the thing, can we be clear about this a Collinsville coal fired power station if it was ever built, it'd be at least a 10-year construction wouldn't it?


CHISHOLM: Well, who knows, I'm sceptical, the Labor Party's position on this has been pretty clear. We didn't think that was a good use of taxpayer funds. When (Queensland) Government own energy assets. You know we do have a significant investment in baseload power in coal fired power stations indeed I think the (Queensland) Government has done the right thing by committing to getting Callide up and running again which is exactly what is necessary. So I am sceptical and the Labor Party have been sceptical about this, but the fact of the matter is that it is taxpayer funded. And we do deserve to actually see what the report says, and the Government should release it in full.


CULLIVER: Look, we haven't had the pleasure of having the Energy Minister on anytime recently, I have no idea. Do we know if the Department or if indeed the Minister has that report?


CHISHOLM: Well, we can only go on what's been before us, surely has to be within the Department. I don't think Shine Energy has said anything different. I know there were some concerns about giving money to them in the first place and that took a bit of a delay. I don't know what the issue was there, but we've got Estimates coming up in the Senate and it's certainly something that I'll be pursuing there and what often happens with Estimates is you get the opportunity to grill the bureaucrats as well and sometimes they're more forthcoming than these LNP politicians who tend to cover over things and not actually be full with the truth about where these papers are at.


CULLIVER: Alright, well we'll look forward to Senate Estimates then Senator thanks for your time.


CHISHOLM: Thanks Paul and a special shout out to my favourite State of Origin moment which was Alfie, making a comeback all the way from England to play in 2001 and I was lucky to be at that game as well but that’s my special moment.


CULLIVER: Very good, appreciate you including that thanks Senator.


CHISHOLM: Thank you.