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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier of Queensland
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    BILLION DOLLAR FUND TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

    Premier of Queensland
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    BILLION DOLLAR FUND TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

    Two new dams and two new weir projects will be built under a new fund worth more than

    $1 Billion to be established by the Queensland Government.

    Premier Peter Beattie and Deputy Premier and Treasurer Anna Bligh today announced the State Government would legislate to create the Queensland Future Growth Fund to help meet the challenges of climate change and the continued economic development of the SmartState.

    Mr Beattie said the fund would be financed from the sale of Sun Retail – comprising the retail business arm of Energex - and the contestable elements of Ergon Retail.

    “This massive new fund will position the SmartState to tackle the challenges of climate change through a raft of new innovative technology and infrastructure projects,” Mr Beattie said.

    “Climate change is a worldwide issue but the impacts can be felt right here in our own backyard.

    “Queensland will get drier and hotter. Changes in weather patterns have affected our environment – most notably our water supplies.

    “In addition, we must tackle issues such as greenhouse gas emissions and their role in climate change.”

    Mr Beattie said all details of the new Fund will be released when the sale of the retail business had been concluded and the final price determined over the next twelve months.

    He said this was expected to be in excess of $1 Billion.

    “As a priority under the Fund we will allocate approximately $200 - $300 million to help accelerate the building of two new dams and two new weir projects,” Mr Beattie said.

    “Subject to Commonwealth cooperation we now expect these projects to be completed by the end of 2011.

    “Together they are expected to deliver up to an extra 235,000 megalitres per annum – this is equivalent to the approximate capacity of more than three new Hinze Dams.

    “We will build a major new dam on the Mary River in the Gympie region and bring forward the construction of the promised new dam proposed for the upper reaches of the Logan River to help support burgeoning population growth in south east Queensland

    “As part of this process we will re-examine the existing proposal for the Wyaralong Dam site as compared to a new site which has been identified at TilleysBridge near Rathdowney. A detailed investigation, including geotechnical works will be carried out to determine which site will deliver the best yield.

    “On the FitzroyRiver in Central Queensland we will raise the Eden Bann weir and build a new weir at Rookwood.

    “These two projects alone are expected to deliver up to 86,000 megalitres per annum for future growth in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Gladstone as well as help fuel our booming coal export and minerals industries.”

    Ms Bligh said $300 million from the Queensland Future Growth Fund would be allocated to support the continued sustainable development of clean coal technology.

    “The rapid shifts in our climate are a clear warning Queensland must work to actively manage our strong position in the global economy while at the same time minimising the impact on the environment,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Already our Government is involved in a world leading program of research, development and promotion of alternative energy sources.

    “We are focused on ensuring our levels of greenhouse gas emissions are kept to an absolute minimum while still meeting the growing demand for energy from our booming economy and population.

    “Under the Fund we will allocate $300 million to help this program take a giant leap forward.

    “The money will be dedicated to the future development of clean coal technology.

    “It will complement a $300 million industry fund set up by consortium Coal21 which includes BHP Billition, Rio Tinto, XStrata and Anglo as well the $500 million Low Emission Technology Demonstration Fund established by the Commonwealth Government.

    “We will work together on clean coal technology that will help guarantee the viability of the coal industry into the future while cutting pollution and emissions associated for the use of this resource in power generation.”

    Ms Bligh said other projects in the Fund would be determined once the sale process had been completed, however sufficient proceeds would be reinvested in GOC commercial infrastructure projects to ensure the State suffers no net loss of the income presently derived from the two assets.

    She said that while other States had applied the proceeds of similar sales to paying off debt, the Government’s history of prudent financial management and unique net debt position meant it was able to invest the funds in the future growth of the State.

    Media contact: 3224 4500