Harry Bruce cartoon jim pearce coal-fired power
Harry Bruce cartoon jim pearce coal-fired power contributed

Labor MPs do backflip, support coal power for NQ

MIRANI MP Jim Pearce is one of two Labor MPs who have backed calls for a new coal-fired baseload power station in Queensland, despite their party opposing it.

It comes after Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls vowed in his Budget reply speech to fast-track a baseload power station in north Queensland within 100 days of being elected.

Backbencher and Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller declared in parliament that neither she nor Mr Pearce were against a new power station.

"The Opposition stated earlier in the week that coal is not a dirty word in the LNP. It's not a dirty word in the ALP either, not while I'm sitting here and the Member for Mirani is sitting here."

Mr Pearce, who is an ex-coal miner, said the coal industry had "been good to him" over the years.

"I'm not going to say that I'm against one in the north of Queensland," he said.

"It's too early for me to get too involved. But if anybody is deciding to put a station in the North it should go next to a mine to reduce the costs of transport.

"It should go in an area where we don't have to pay freight costs."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has slammed Mr Nicholl's pledge to have a power station built in North Queensland. "The Turnbull Government's own independent reviewer of the National Energy Market has warned about the costs of new coal-fired power generation," she said.

"Chief Scientist Alan Finkel told Senate Estimates last month that 'the actual cost of bringing on new coal in this country per megawatt hour is projected to be substantially more expensive than the cost of bringing on wind or solar'."