Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher speaking in parliament. Pics Tara Croser.
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher speaking in parliament. Pics Tara Croser.

CQ pollies go head-to-head on hydrogen ‘hubs’ debate

Two Central Queensland politicians have traded verbal barbs over the Federal Government’s latest hydrogen announcement.

It detailed Gladstone as one of five ‘hubs’ in the Federal Government’s $539.2 million clean hydrogen and carbon capture technologies program.

But, Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher was unimpressed by the announcement, stating it was another flash in the pan that aimed to take credit for the work of others.

“I would say that there’s fashionably late, and then there’s ScoMo’s move to finally recognise our potential for hydrogen,” Mr Butcher said.

“It’s the Palaszczuk Government that implemented a strategy two years ago, has already opened two rounds of the industry development fund, and set up a Queensland Hydrogen Task force full of the industry’s best.”

Mr Butcher said the Gladstone region was benefiting from decades of investment from the Queensland Government through state-owned assets.

“Our world-class deepwater port, water security through Awoonga Dam, and industry attraction via our State Development Area have all meant that Gladstone is set up to be the hydrogen capital of the world,” he said.

“It’s because of our investment that the Gladstone region has an outstanding record in development of energy exports from a standing start.”

Mr Butcher said he was getting on with the job through the Hydrogen task force Ministerial Hydrogen Forum.

“We’re focused on jobs now in exploration, jobs during construction, jobs during export operations and jobs right through the manufacturing supply chain,” he said.

“The Federal Government didn’t even have a seat at the table when we signed the recent MOU between local stakeholders and Sumitomo Corporation.

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“The MOU will prove supply chains and grow a domestic hydrogen market, with the ultimate prizes of more Queensland exports from, and more long-term secure manufacturing jobs in, the Gladstone region.

“The Prime Minister has rushed out to buy new clothes to look good in front of his mates in the United States.

“The LNP have done nothing but focus on themselves and fight about clean energy policy, and now all of a sudden, we’re supposed to believe that they’re united?”

Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said hydrogen was an investment in bringing down emissions, but most importantly, investing in jobs in regional areas.

“This is about establishing hydrogen hubs, hubs to produce hydrogen for use in Australia and for our customers offshore, and carbon capture and storage,” he said.

“That will allow us to bring down emissions of gas generators, for instance, but at the same time, keep that affordable, reliable power we need.

“Places like Gladstone. These are technologies that allow us to innovate and bring down emissions and have affordable, reliable power. It doesn’t eliminate industries and that’s our focus.”

Mr O’Dowd said the liberal National Government invested in hydrogen well before it was on the Labor governments radar.

“We as a government commenced investment into hydrogen early 2015 and discussions were being had a considerable time before then,” he said.

“We can all see that there is an election looming as the Labor counterparts are playing politics once again.”

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