Queensland’s $15m push to become nation’s Energizer Bunny state

Queensland is continuing a pre-budget focus on energy storage, with a promise to invest $15 million in battery testing.

Jun 15, 2022, updated Jun 15, 2022
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has made another announcement about energy storage ahead of nexts weeks state budget. Photo: ABC

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has made another announcement about energy storage ahead of nexts weeks state budget. Photo: ABC

Treasurer Cameron Dick says he wants his state to be “the natural home” of battery testing and making in Australia.

As a result, next Tuesday’s budget will provide $15 million in funding for the National Battery Testing Centre at the Queensland University of Technology.

“”We want to give this centre the ability to certify battery cells and systems, which is something that at the moment can only be done overseas,” Dick said on Wednesday.

Last week, the government earmarked $35 million for study on a second pumped hydro energy storage site.

The site would act as a giant battery, using renewable energy to pump water from a reservoir uphill into a hydropower dam to re-generate electricity.

Another $13 million will be spent on finalising a study into whether the government should invest in the proposed Borumba Pumped Hydro storage project.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said recent pressure on the national electricity market underscored the importance of energy storage.

“Storage is the key to our energy independence, be it in the home, statewide or as a nation,” he said.

“This investment will ensure the entire supply chain can operate here from Queensland – from research and development, to testing, to manufacturing and deployment.”

With the state budget less than a week away, the government has promised to wipe $43 off household power bills, which are set to rise by at least that amount.

Another $200 million will go into a fund for new roads, sewerage systems and other infrastructure in the southeast to spur new housing developments.

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Public high school students are to have access to free period products, while $72 million will go towards a new aeromedical hub at Brisbane Airport.

Dick said he expects his 2022/23 budget to commit about $1.5 billion more than the government earns.

That is about $900 million less than the deficit he forecast six months ago, partly due to rising taxes on coalminers and gambling firms.

The government is also expected to start pocketing interest earnings from tenants’ rental bonds from July 1.

At the 2020 election, the treasurer promised not to hike any taxes, fees or charges, but now insists that pledge was made to families, not businesses.

On Wednesday, Dick refused to rule out increasing fees and charges.

“We will announce our full range of measures, revenue, expenses. The whole thing, the whole shebang, will be in the budget next week,” he said.

“On fees and charges, we know that we’ve had some of the lowest increases in the country.”

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