Queensland undergoing own Golden Age: Queensland Premier

As we move towards 2020, Queensland will undergo its own “Golden Age,” Premier and Minister for Trade, the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk has told a CEDA audience.

Speaking at the annual State of the State address, Ms Palaszczuk outlined growth and opportunities across sectors in Queensland including energy and hydrogen, and advanced manufacturing. 

“Unlike the Federal Government, we have a clearly defined energy plan here in Queensland,” she said.

“It is bringing certainty for investors. It is lowering prices for Queensland homes, families and businesses.

“Queensland’s position as Australia’s energy powerhouse remains unchallenged.

“We have the country’s youngest and most efficient fleet of coal-fired generators.

“We have a pipeline of renewable projects that will generate over 20 per cent of our energy needs by next year.

“We have $5 billion in committed renewable investment ($1.1 billion is already constructed and operating), and $20 billion in the pipeline.
“Another new industry is hydrogen.

“Hydrogen has long been seen as a potential energy source, but one that so far has proved difficult to produce and transport commercially.

“Now, concerted effort is underway to overcome these challenges.

“Japan, our second largest trading partner, is looking to Queensland for its future energy needs.

“Japan has launched an ambitious program to be able to demonstrate hydrogen powered vessels at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“As part of this plan, QUT is working with Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and the University of Tokyo to develop specialised solar panels on a site in the Redlands.

“Pilot sites for production have been identified in Gladstone.

“We are talking about the potential to capture Queensland sunshine, then store it, and transport it to Japan as a source of renewable energy.

“Today I am releasing a hydrogen discussion paper to receive your input on how we can advance this new and emerging industry in Queensland.”

Speaking on advanced manufacturing, Ms Palaszczuk said when Holden and Toyota pulled out of Melbourne and Adelaide last year, many saw that as the end of the automotive industry in Australia, but the industry is growing in Queensland.

“Queensland is now the largest vehicle manufacturer in Australia,” she said.

“As manufacturing jobs decline in other states, they are growing in Queensland.

“Last month I opened Volvo’s new $30 million national headquarters at Wacol.

“The new facility can produce 67 tailor-made heavy-duty trucks every week.”

Ms Palaszczuk also discussed the importance for education to support these industries. 

“It’s estimated 90 per cent of future jobs will require higher education at either university or TAFE,” she said. 

“That’s why last week we announced that every student finishing high school in Queensland this year and the next will be able to enrol in TAFE for free.

“If we don’t have the skills that industries need for these jobs, they will simply look overseas.

“Business has called for this and we have listened.

“That is why later this year I will convene a skills summit of some of the biggest companies in Queensland’s traditional and emerging industries.

“This is to ensure we are able to provide the necessary skills for the workforce that we need of the future.

“It’s essential that future jobs are linked to what is happening in our education system – it’s linked to what is happening in our schools, TAFEs and universities.

“This is something where industry, government, universities, the skills training sector and unions must all come and work…together.”

Speaking on the recent leadership spill, Ms Palaszczuk said global partners are looking for stability.

“When I travel overseas as well for my position as Premier and Minister for Trade, people want stability at a Federal level and it’s just not there at the moment,” she said. 

“I will use this one example, when I was in Japan when Malcolm Turnbull took over from Tony Abbott, I was immediately asked if I could meet with the acting Prime Minister of Japan to give the Japanese Government an assurance about the contracts with Queensland.”