Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to try to expand the capacity of the Snowy River Hydro Scheme first announced by Labor Prime Minister Ben Chiffley in 1949 is commendable in an effort to add renewable energy to the East Coast grid. I see Jay Wetherall’s $360 million gas fired electricity plant with enhanced battery storage and the Turnbull move, both good steps in the right direction for Australia’s future energy needs.
That said, and as a North Queenslander, the obvious enhancement to that grid is a base load power station which has been promised for North Queensland. Logically we have the mighty Burdekin Falls Dam west of Townsville completed by the Hawke Labor government in 1987, (30 years ago) which can easily be transformed into a baseload Hydro Electricity generator by following the original plans for it to be not only a huge hydro electricity generator for North Queensland, but also to include gravity fed water supply to Townsville’s Ross River dam, to provide both energy and water security for North Queensland.
If Mr Turnbull can spend $2 Billion in Sydney accommodating southern eastern States future energy needs, why is it that North Queensland is continuously ignored by both State and Federal governments of both colours for many decades when our infrastructure is so sadly lacking? Do we not pay the same rate of tax as our southern counterparts, does not North Queensland mineral wealth provide billions of export dollars for our current trade balance, along with sugar and bananas and many other goods we produce. It’s time North Queensland received something in return, the Burdekin Falls Hydro Electric Scheme and gravity fed pipeline to Townsville’s Ross River Dam is the game changer, we in the North have sought for so long, and as a bonus it would improve both the Queensland and Federal government’s commitment at the Paris Clime Change conference.