Queensland business facing major changes after the Green wave

Behind the platitudes and congratulations showered on the new government, the business community will be scrambling to figure out what the Green wave means.

May 22, 2022, updated May 22, 2022
The Greens are expected to have a much bigger say (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

The Greens are expected to have a much bigger say (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

The overwhelming message from the Australian electorate was about climate and that was particularly so in Brisbane.

Depending on how Labor negotiates its way through Parliament, the business community can expect a shakeup. Everything from consultants, employment contracts for gig workers and labour hire through to renewable energy, lithium mining and battery manufacturing could be changed.

Also probable is a greater scrutiny of coal and gas, both key industries in Queensland.

With a probable majority, Labor may not need the Greens and independents in the lower house but will still need to get the Greens on side in the Senate. That could mean pressure to lift its emission targets. Labor has pledged to cut CO2 emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.

An increased focus on renewable energy could be expected and that was likely to have a significant impact on business and the energy market, even before the expanded cross bench adds pressure for stronger action.

Gladstone could expect to be a major battery hub after Labor promised $100 million to “kick-start” manufacturing at a new precinct.

In his victory speech, incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called for an end to the climate wars and pledged a new focus on renewables.

“Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower,” he said.

At least one of Australia’s corporate giants was happy with the result.

Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes said “people standing for stronger action on climate is the consistent message tonight – across inner city, suburban & rural seats”.

“Big swings to the Indies, to the Greens, to Labor over LNP (in two party seats). An incredible, amazing mandate.”

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest said it was the end of an “embarrassing” climate policy.

Developments like the Hell’s Gate dam in north Queensland could come under the microscope. Labor has said it wants to see a business case on the massive project before it makes a decision.

Labor has also promised a $15 billion reconstruction fund that would provide loans, guarantees and equity to support projects that create jobs, drive regional development, and invest in domestic manufacturing.

About $3 billion would be invested in “green metals” to produce low carbon steel and aluminium. That was also likely to mean a bigger focus on hydrogen.

Small business, which is the engine room of the Queensland economy, can expect changes to contracts to make unfair conditions imposed by bigger corporates illegal, but the flip side is that workers on employee-like conditions would also have minimum wages and conditions set.

Its “same job, same pay” policy has upset the likes of BHP which has effectively created in-house labour hire firms to act as the employer at its mines in Queensland.

That has meant confrontation with the powerful mining unions.

Labor has also announced it would slash the use of consultants by $3 billion over four years and bring jobs back into the public service.






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