Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Chris Hanley; The Scott Morrison government promised millions of dollars for a feasibility study for an Australian Aboriginal initiative to build a new coal power plant in Queensland, to provide jobs and hope for their children. So far everyone has let them down.
Indigenous-run firm behind Collinsville coal-fired plant says Coalition used it ‘as a pawn’
Shine Energy, run by Indigenous traditional owners, is yet to receive $4m in funding and doubts support is genuine
The company behind a proposed new coal-fired power plant in Queenslandhas questioned whether the Coalition used it as a pawn to help win last year’s federal election, saying it is yet to receive $4m in funding and doubts whether support for the project is genuine.
Shine Energy, run by Indigenous traditional owners from Birri and Widi country, said it was not confident it would get the promised funding for a feasibility study into a 1,000 megawatt coal station at Collinsville despite four federal ministers releasing a statement in February confirming it had been awarded.
Ashley Dodd, Shine’s chief executive, said the Morrison government had pressured him to step aside from running the company, and accused the Coalition of trying to “white clad” the company by installing an “Anglo Saxon” in the leadership role. The government denies the allegation.
Dodd told Guardian Australia the company had submitted a pre-feasibility report to the government as required, but not been given a timeframe on when it would receive the funding. He said he was concerned the Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek might have been correct when she told Sky News the government’s support for the plant was a “scam” and a “press release designed to cover up their lack of energy policy”.
“I’m very, very upset. I’m starting to feel like we’ve been used to win the election,” Dodd said. “We put in all the hard work based on what the government said they would deliver to us but it has been a go slow by the department. We’re starting to really feel that we’ve been used as a pawn in a game.”
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/12/company-behind-collinsville-power-plant-fears-it-was-used-by-coalition-to-win-election
I really feel for the traditional owners. Collinsville like much of rural Queensland has its share of problems, it is not a wealthy place. But they have a commercially valuable asset – there are large deposits of coal in the area.
A new coal plant to provide high paying jobs and hope for the children, and to supply the energy needs of local mines and industry, could have been a real game changer for the region.
Australia’s increasingly precarious energy grid could really use a new source of reliable energy. A new coal plant might mitigate the need to encourage energy intensive businesses to stop production, whenever the price of electricity spikes.
But it is looking increasingly likely the Collinsville entrepreneurs have been lied to, strung along for short term advantage by people who maybe never had any genuine intention of helping them.