$570m strategy backs Qld battery boon

Brandon How

Queensland’s new battery industry strategy will be backed by $210 million in new support programs as the state government looks to develop a diversified local supply chain to support domestic and global decarbonisation.

The five-year action plan, announced on Thursday, has a focus on developing manufacturing capabilities of battery materials, cells, pack assembly, installation, and recycling. It is backed by $570 million worth of new and existing initiatives.

It aims to capitalise on an industry development opportunity potentially worth $1.3 billion and support 9,100 jobs by 2030, but notes that ongoing projects are “largely in the feasibility and pre-commercialisation stage”.

New funding includes $105 million for an Australian Battery Industrialisation Centre and $80 million for an industry grants program, though further details have not been released.

A further $20 million will also be used to develop national battery standards and consider options for materials characterisation services, with the remaining $5 million to be used to set up Batteries Queensland, a new central point of contact for industry with government.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles. Image: X

The $570 million worth of battery industry support programs are split across three broad themes under the strategy: ‘innovate and commercialise’, ‘invest, integrate and grow’, and ‘position and promote’.

Of the total battery support package, $275 million is targeting innovation and commercialisation activity through the provision of shared infrastructure, testing and certification services, and research.

This includes up to $105 million to plan and establish the Australian Battery Industrialisation Centre, which will serve as a national hub of manufacturing, innovation, collaboration, and skills development.

It will form a key component of the Australian Made Battery Precinct, which has received a $100 million commitment from the federal government and is backed by a consortium of universities.

The state government has also committed $15 million to establish QUEST Hub, a research hub initiative for strengthening the state’s critical minerals supply chain that was announced under the state’s New-Industry Development Strategy.

A further $92.2 million is dedicated to the theme of ‘invest, integrate and grow’, which seeks to integrate the state’s battery supply chain and boost local content. This will be predominantly delivered through an $80 million industry grant program, which has yet to be detailed.

The final $202.5 million is committed to positioning and promoting the state’s battery manufacturing capabilities to national and international markets. It will focus on attracting and facilitating investment in the state’s battery supply chain.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said the strategy “establishes Queensland as a global leader in the flow batteries needed to store renewable energy and advanced battery technologies”.

“We have already made great progress in building out our battery industry supply chain, with substantial investment in battery projects right across the state including the Queensland Energy Storage and Technology Hub facility at Banyo, Alpha HPA in Gladstone and Vecco in Townsville,” Mr Miles said.

“Our 75 per cent emissions reduction [on 2005 levels] target by 2035 provides the investment certainty to build a battery industry here in Queensland to not just supply Australia but the world.

“Building a Queensland battery industry creates jobs here in the Southeast in mining critical minerals in the North West, in minerals processing in Townsville and new clean economy jobs across our regions including Cairns, Gladstone and Maryborough.”

State Development and Infrastructure minister Grace Grace said that every region in Queensland will play a role in the development of a local battery supply chain.

“Right now, most of the batteries used in Queensland are imported. This is a massive opportunity for Queensland to become a world leader and make these products in our own backyard, and it’s one we are seizing with both hands,” Ms Grace said.

The federal government began consulting on a battery industry strategy in February 2023, but it is yet to release the final plan.

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