Public letter about the future of the North West mining industry

Jul 2, 2021

Public letter about the future of the North West mining industry

Jul 2, 2021

I’m writing to express my concern over the urgent issue of electricity supply in the North-West Minerals Province (NWMP).

As you know all too well, we have some of the highest electricity prices in the world and its extremely complicated to get electricity for new projects.

In my opinion this is the direct result of negligent ignorance by successive Governments to an obvious competition issue and lack of investment in shared infrastructure.

Currently the NWMP is supplied by a single, privately-owned generator with no price regulation and no spare generating capacity.

The power system is expensive, unreliable and gives an unfair advantage to large incumbent businesses at the expense of smaller projects, and more than 20,000 residents.

This is in stark contrast to other great resource areas in the State such as the Bowen and Surat Basins where connection to the national grid provides significantly cheaper power, high-levels of competition and high reliability.

For all their decarbonisation rhetoric, the Government continues to allow the NWMP to flounder under an investment-killing, uncompetitive electricity market while facilitating further development of coal and gas projects through access to competitive and reliable power.

I fully support the past and future success of Queensland’s coal and gas industry (noting the critical need for a gas reserve policy), and I know this success has been built on the back of cheap, competitive and reliable electricity from the east coast grid.

I now demand that our community is given the same opportunity to prosper.

We are at a critical time where the Queensland Government indicates its committed to connecting the NWMP to the National Electricity Market. However, they are yet to deliver.

I am concerned that once again the Government will neglect its duty to build shared infrastructure that levels the playing field and allows access to cheap and reliable electricity for all projects, not just those with market power.

The Queensland Government has identified more than 50 major minerals mines and deposits in the corridor between Mount Isa and Townsville. Currently the lack of competitive electricity supply is prohibiting development.

I want to ensure the infrastructure is in place to give each the best chance of coming into, or continuing, operation.

I acknowledge the significant investment and employment provided by the dominant market players in the North West electricity system. I will support them and any other business that operates in a way that elevates the entire region.

However, any business whose decisions are so critical to the development of infrastructure across the entire North-West and Townsville, is under additional scrutiny and is held to a higher standard of social responsibility.

I will continue to hold both the Government and major players to account to ensure the NWMP has the cheapest and most competitive electricity available.


Yours sincerely,

Robbie Katter
Member for Traeger