Qld Budget : Good news for renewables and advanced manufacturing

Brandon How

The manufacturing, resources and renewable energy sectors have together been given a $350 million boost through new measures in the Queensland government’s 2022-23 Budget.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick told the legislative assembly that the 2022-23 budget would create jobs across “hydrogen and renewables, critical minerals, advanced manufacturing, resource recovery, biomedical technology, aerospace, defence, tourism and the innovation, creative and design industries”.

“We are determined to maintain Queensland’s traditional role as Australia’s energy powerhouse. More than that, Queensland is rapidly becoming a global energy superpower through investment in our state’s renewable energy future, helping us to deliver more jobs in more industries,” Mr Dick said.

This is on the back of an estimated $1.9 billion budget surplus for 2021-22. However, the budget is expected to enter “a modest deficit” across 2022-23.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick

Manufacturing gets a $50 million boost to extend the Made in Queensland and Manufacturing Hub Grant programs over two years, which were originally set to close this year. The former will receive $40 million while the later receives $10 million.

Made in Queensland targets advanced manufacturing projects, while the Manufacturing Hub Grant helps small to medium sized enterprises adopt new technologies and skills.

A further $17.7 million is being committed over four years to permanently establish the Manufacturing Hub Program to support local manufacturing businesses transition to advanced manufacturing.

In support of the resources industry, $68.5 million over five years has been committed in the 2022-23 state budget for the implementation of the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan across the whole of government. The plan aims to support the development of mineral processing and production facilities to meet growing global demands for electrification. Released as a draft plan in April 2021, the final release is expected soon given its scheduled release for mid-2022.

The Department of Resources is delivering $34.8 million of the support. This includes in the resource industry plan support is $17.5 million over four years to increase support through the existing Collaborative Exploration Initiative grants program, which aims to supports innovation in exploration techniques as well as encouraging exploration at greenfield sites.

Other schemes being delivered by the Department of Resources is $5.7 million for the Resources Centre of Excellence in Mackay, which was announced last week, as well as $10 million for geophysical surveys, $5 million to investigate Queensland’s new economy minerals potential, and $1.6 million for regulatory system improvements.

The Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government, and Planning will use $7.5 million of the funding to deliver several key initiatives of the plan. This includes developing a Queensland Battery Industry Development Strategy, continuing the Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) Collaborative Project Fund and supporting the METS Accelerator Program.

Over two years, the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water will spend $500,000 of the resource industry plan money to support development of the battery manufacturing industry.

The 2022-23 budget also commits $150 million to the development of a 10-year trade and investment strategy as the Treasurer also confirmed that the state’s Energy Plan will be released later this year. A further $3.5 million is also set aside to facilitate the development and enforcement of industry decarbonisation plans over the next five years.

Alongside several renewables commitments announced in the lead up to the budget, there is also $10 million over two years for a Queensland Microgrid Pilot Fund. This aims to improve the energy security of regional communities when affected by extreme weather conditions.

Mr Dick said that the state government would position Queensland to take advantage of growing global demand for electrification and decarbonisation.

“Embracing decarbonisation does not need to come at the expense of the economy or jobs. To the contrary, it presents the opportunity for us to be a home to more energy-intensive heavy industry, including traditional and advanced manufacturing,” Mr Dick said.

“Queensland can supply the world with new economy minerals and manufacture the equipment it needs to tackle climate change, while supporting our growing workforce to acquire new skills.”

Last week, the Queensland government announced that the 2022-23 budget includes $35 million to identify a suitable location for a second potential pumped hydro energy storage site in Queensland.

The government also previously announced the National Battery Testing Centre in Brisbane would receive $15 million in the budget.

The Treasurer also announced that at least $10 million out of the ongoing Invested in Queensland program will support the state’s first vanadium processing plant in Townsville. He also confirmed that $964.2 million out of the promised $2.1 billion 10-year Waste Package would be distributed over the next five years.

Also included in the budget and announced last week is $35.5 million to help finance to a translational manufacturing facility for vaccines.

There is also an allocation of $55 million over the next three years for zero emissions vehicle subsidies and charging infrastructure, previously announced in March.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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