The Palaszczuk Government and Rio Tinto have signed a statement of cooperation to seize the opportunities presented by clean energy and make Central Queensland an industrial and renewable energy powerhouse.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said supporting investment in renewables and hydrogen was part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from COVID-19.
“This week we’ve announced one of the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyser manufacturing plants will be built in Central Queensland,” the Premier said.
“Today we’re signing a statement of cooperation with Rio Tinto to ensure Central Queensland can take advantage of our natural energy advantage and drive employment and economic outcomes from investment in renewable energy projects.
“By backing Queensland to become a renewable energy and hydrogen superpower we will create and sustain jobs long into the future.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the government would work with industry to find ways to build more renewable energy faster.
“This will be a multi-signatory statement which will ensure that Central Queensland becomes one of the first regions in the world to benefit from the massive growth in demand for renewable energy,” Mr Miles said.
“We will ensure that in Central Queensland renewable energy is used to power the industries and material that the world will need over the years ahead.
“This will demonstrate Queensland’s capability and attract investors looking to use clean energy to create their futures and the jobs that come with it.
“Together with Rio and with the support of future partners, we will ensure that we can make a valuable product in Queensland and export it to a world hungry for clean manufacturing and sustainable materials.”
Rio Tinto, the first partner to join the statement, have signed on with a commitment to use their experience to help deliver future green industry for Queensland.
Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive Ivan Vella said “transitioning to a low carbon economy presents a real opportunity for industrial regions if stakeholders are willing to both think differently and collaborate.”
“As Queensland’s largest energy user and a major Gladstone employer and manufacturer, Rio Tinto is uniquely positioned to work with the Queensland Government to deliver this vision,” Mr Vella said.
“We have been in the region for more than 50 years and we share the State Government’s goals for decarbonisation, job creation and a vibrant industrial future for the region.
“We are working closely with the Queensland Government on the role we can play by underwriting long-term green offtake for our industrial assets. This should help create the industrial demand needed to develop a globally competitive green energy solution and lead to more processing and manufacturing in Central Queensland.”
Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Australia, Kellie Parker said “we are very excited about the opportunities ahead.”
“We operate a unique, integrated aluminium business in Queensland, from bauxite mining through to finished metal production, and we know that, with a committed and coordinated approach to a new energy future, Queensland can thrive in a global low-carbon economy,” Ms Parker said.
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said this partnership with industry is the result of the Palaszczuk Government’s concentrated efforts and commitment to job creation, infrastructure and regional development.
“Rio Tinto is the largest consumer of electricity we have and its decarbonisation commitments underscore the importance of the Palaszczuk Government’s Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (CQREZ),” Mr de Brenni said.
“Queensland’s unique ability to leverage our publicly-owned electricity companies is key to supporting job security for Rio’s existing workforce and enables them to expand operations to create even more jobs.”
Minister for Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Minister for Water and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said this was only the beginning of a collaboration that will continue to grow.
“This is another huge vote of confidence in Gladstone’s competitiveness as a world-best location to grow industry and create more jobs,” Minister Butcher said.
The statement of cooperation will secure the future competitiveness of Queensland, adding value to a natural energy advantage to drive employment and economic outcomes for the
State by focusing on three areas:
- Committing to industry by establishing certainty for current industry and growing demand.
- Delivering a globally competitive energy solution that is centred around firmed, low-carbon electricity for industry.
- Growing the industries of the future in Central Queensland by creating an enabling regulatory environment, strengthening regional skills and employment to lower capital intensity, and planning for the infrastructure to enable industry development.