New energy supply options for the Daintree

Published Thursday, 06 December, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Minister for Energy and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark McArdle


The repeal of the Queensland Government’s Daintree Policy on electricity will deliver new options for household and business electricity supply, a better lifestyle for locals and a boost for the region’s eco-tourism industry.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle today announced the Newman Government’s decision to end the 12 year-old Daintree policy on electricity supply while ensuring the environmental protection of the area.

“Red tape has been hindering eco-tourism in the Daintree for more than a decade and this government is slashing that tape to drive growth,” Mr McArdle said.

“From now on, residents and businesses will be allowed to install their own isolated networks that can be used by more than one home or building.

“This type of energy supply will be far more efficient and economical than the previous policy, which required every business and household to use their own generator.

“In 2003, a consortium of Cape Tribulation residents developed a proposal to install an isolated network, but the plan could not proceed due to the Daintree Policy.

“But only after approval from the Queensland Energy Regulator will power opportunities like these go ahead to provide a more economic power supply option and, in turn, support eco-tourism.”

Member for Cook David Kempton said this was the first step to fulfilling an electoral promise to lift the burden from residents of the Daintree coast which was imposed by the former government.

“The cost of running inefficient individual generators has been a huge burden on the residents and businesses north of the river,” Mr Kempton said.

“This is an important step in the right direction and I will continue to work closely with the community to find an affordable long-term solution.”

Mr McArdle said he wanted to be clear on two points regarding the change.

“First, it needs to be understood that this change does not mean the government will be paying for a new energy supply in the region,” he said.

“Second, this is a process that will take time. Proper planning is essential to protect the Daintree’s environment.

“What we’re doing is giving Daintree residents and businesses an opportunity to improve their own market-driven  power supply that was previously banned.

“Further, any new power supply in the Daintree will be built in an environmentally sensitive manner - we will not allow poles and wires to be swinging through the rainforest.

“Far stronger development controls are now in place to manage growth compared with those that existed when the Daintree Policy was enacted in 2000.”

Mr McArdle said Daintree residents had long been divided over the most appropriate energy supply for the region with a split between a preference to connect to Ergon’s electricity grid and a preference to remain unconnected.

“The Daintree will remain excluded from Ergon’s network delivery area while residents decide for themselves just which type of energy supply they can fund and which option best suits their needs and specific location,” he said.

“The cost to supply an Ergon energy network in the Daintree is estimated at $39 million, which is unworkable given the government’s commitment to reducing waste, tackling electricity price rises and balancing the budget.

“Before including a Daintree area in Ergon’s Distribution Authority, the State Government would have to carefully consider the impact on the budget and the fact the Daintree is isolated, similar to many other locations in Queensland such as Green and Fitzroy Islands.”
Mr McArdle said some areas of the Daintree were far more economical for Ergon to supply than others.

“The changes announced today will give residents the opportunity to fund the energy option that best suits them,” he said.

“This is a fair and balanced solution that considers the needs of all Daintree residents and businesses along with the rest of Queensland.”

[ENDS] 6 December 2012

Media contact: Minister’s Office 07 3896 3690 /0417 277 905