Katter slams Collinsville power plant, says prices will rise
BOB Katter has slammed the proposal to build a coal fired power plant at Collinsville, calling it a 'leadership battle in Canberra' and claiming it would only serve to push power prices upwards.
Speaking in Cairns, the federal member for Kennedy, Bob Katter said a power station built in Collinsville would produce power three times more expensive than the cost of current coal power stations.
He said the biggest cost to consumers was paying off the power station, saying a current coal power station produces power at a cost of $28 a megawatt hour, where a newly-built station would produce at a rate of $84 a megawatt hour.
Mr Katter said with three electricity schemes proposed currently in Hell's Gate Dam, Urannah Dam and the Collinsville Power Station, he didn't want to see north Queenslanders locked in to a higher electricity cost.
He said power produced by the Hell's Gate Dam would be 'super clean' and cost about $50 a megawatt hour.
"Clearly we have Urannah Dam, which I hope will turn Collinsville into an Emerald and bring 10,000 people to live there," he said.
"Hell's Gate will supply all of our power needs for north Queensland at a reasonable price, and it's zero emissions, in fact below zero."
Mr Katter said 'party games' could sacrifice the chances of Urannah and Hell's Gate being built.
"Why wouldn't you build those two projects, and look, we're not going to get all three of these up and Urannah is important for Collinsville, so why are we going the other way?"
He said he has a 'great love' for Collinsville, once representing it as part of his state electorate, and had watched it's population since fall from 6000 to 1000.
"No one wants to see it go bigger than me, but you can't explain the megawatts when we're offering cheaper."
State member for Burdekin Dale Last said it was "extremely disappointing that Bob Katter thinks we need to choose one project over another."
"We shouldn't have to choose one over the other just because we live in regional Queensland and Bob Katter should be speaking up for the regions; not talking them down," he said.
"The facts are that both projects could have benefits for Queensland as a whole. Developing our agricultural industries would provide jobs throughout the state and reducing the cost of electricity would help every household and business outside the South East corner of the state.
"If the figures stack up for a coal-fired power plant in Collinsville then I will fully support it because we need to ensure there are jobs in regional Queensland. What we need to do is identify as many ways as possible of reducing the cost of electricity. If coal-fired power stations will do that, then let's get on with it.
"Bob Katter made a big song and dance about Labor's opposition to the Carmichael Mine but now it seems he has turned his back on Queensland's miners and resource companies."
Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan said Mr Katter's comments meant he wasn't backing north Queensland.
"Bob Katter is not backing coal jobs and not backing North Queensland jobs," he said.