Landmark legislation protects Queensland energy workers and public ownership

Published Tuesday, 24 October, 2023 at 06:07 PM

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

  • Energy and Jobs Plan to be enshrined in law, securing Queensland as clean energy powerhouse
  • State’s three renewable energy targets to be enshrined in law 
  • Queensland energy workers to be provided guaranteed job security
  • Public ownership to provide ongoing cost of living relief off power bills

The Palaszczuk Government has today taken the next steps to enshrine the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan into law, with a commitment to legislate renewable energy targets, and guarantee the financial security of workers.

Following months of consultation, the Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill 2023 was introduced to Parliament after receiving overwhelming support from the community and industry.

The Bill will secure Queensland’s place as a global renewable energy powerhouse, by maintaining public ownership of the majority of the state’s electricity system.

Renewable energy targets will be enshrined in law, ensuring Queensland will be powered by 50 per cent clean energy by 2030, 70 per cent by 2032 and 80 per cent by 2035.

In a world-first, the Bill delivers on the Palaszczuk Government’s promise of a legislated Job Security Guarantee and Fund, to provide workers at existing publicly owned power stations access to new jobs, training or financial assistance. 

The new laws establish important planning and governance pathways to support roll-out of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, including timely and cost-effective construction of the new Queensland SuperGrid.

Quotes attributable to Minister de Brenni:

“The Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill 2023 demonstrates to the world that Queensland is ready, willing and able to help tackle climate change.

“These laws are about our real commitment to a publicly owned energy system, one that protects tens of thousands of jobs in existing industries already vulnerable to carbon emissions.

“Nowhere else in the world has a government offered a job security guarantee in law, to ensure Queenslanders working in publicly-owned coal-fired power stations are given peace of mind, and financial security as we deliver our transition to clean energy.

“The Palaszczuk Government is serious about reducing the cost of living for Queenslanders, and with scientists and economists determining renewable energy as the cheapest form of energy, this Bill will ensure we are delivering on our commitments to keep prices down.

“We’ve already made significant progress under the Plan, with new generation and storage seeing wholesale prices drop dramatically. But we must enshrine the QEJP into law to lock in an orderly transition.

“By publishing, funding, and now legislation a comprehensive and achievable plan that commits the government to its renewable energy targets, we are taking the most substantial action on climate change in Queensland’s history.

“We are determined to address climate change while ensuring Queensland’s workers, and the communities they support, are not left behind.”


Quotes attributable to Electrical Trades Union State Secretary, Peter Ong:
“We support the government’s Bill to legislate Queensland’s just transition to a renewable future. The ETU has always fought for majority public ownership of energy assets, so we’re happy to see that a minimum of 54% public ownership of assets will be legislated. We’re particularly proud to have worked on the Energy Workers’ Charter which was a world-first document guaranteeing no worker would lose their job in the transition to renewables. Queensland is leading the way with this Bill, as it’s the first piece of legislation in the world to enshrine a jobs guarantee for energy workers.”    

Quotes attributable to Queensland Council of Unions, General Secretary Jacqueline King:
"A ban on the privatisation of energy assets is a real commitment to Queensland workers and their families. This Plan will continue to secure jobs for Queensland workers, and the retention of public sector jobs means better conditions, safety, dignity and respect for workers across the state. The Queensland Council of Unions has always fought for the rights and dignity of workers, and we call on all members of the Parliament to fully support this legislation to deliver for Queensland workers."

Quotes attributable to Queensland Conservation Council, Director Dave Copeman:
“We are pleased that the Government has legislated the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan. Queensland power prices and climate emissions will drop when renewables are built and coal is closed. Now we must see bipartisan support for the Energy Bill from the LNP”

Quotes attributable to Smart Energy Council CEO, John Grimes:
“We need to move away from expensive, polluting, unreliable generation to cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy. The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is exactly that. This plan for transition and the jobs plan that accompanies it is world leading.”

Quotes attributable to WWF Senior Manager of Climate and Energy Policy, Ariane Wilkinson:
“WWF-Australia welcomes the steps taken today to legislate renewable energy targets in the Energy and Jobs Plan.  This will provide confidence to the market and clarity on where Queensland is headed. This is an important step forward and a key part of bringing down Queensland’s emissions much sooner, to do our part to address the climate crisis.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Conservation Foundation Climate and Energy Program Manager Gavan McFadzean:
“Queensland’s natural environment, communities and economy are highly vulnerable to climate change, but with some of the best sun and wind resources in the world, Queensland also has so much to gain by making the switch from dirty to clean energy. The Palaszczuk government’s Energy and Jobs Plan allows Queensland to be more ambitious in reducing climate pollution and positions the state to seize the jobs and economic opportunities of the future.”

Quotes to be attributed to Business Chamber Queensland’s General Manager, Business Sustainability Cara Westerman:
“The plan and its targets encourage more sustainable practices at a time when there is a call to action for businesses to become increasingly climate responsive. Enabling enhanced access to renewable energy and providing significant opportunities as a result of the transition will help to create resilience for business, as well as potential for growth and access to new markets associated with a low carbon economy.  This, alongside creating skilled and future ready workforces, is particularly relevant as we move toward 2032 and beyond.”


Further information

  • The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan sets out a pathway to bring 22GW of new wind and solar projects by 2035, supported by grid-scale batteries and pumped hydro storage. 

  • Independent analysis projects 100,000 jobs will be created through the transformation.

  • The Bill provides certainty to investors in renewable hydrogen, battery manufacturing, mining and metal refining which will grow as competitive clean energy makes Queensland an investment destination of choice to meet global demand for green products.

  • Publicly owned coal-fired power stations will evolve into clean energy hubs by 2035.

  • The Queensland Government has committed $19B in capital investment over the next four years to support new wind, solar, storage and transmission.

  • The $4.5B Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund empowers publicly owned energy corporations to partner with industry to accelerate the clean energy transition.
  • A new solar PV system is installed every 10 minutes in Queensland.

  • As of August 2023, there are more than 16,600 battery energy storage systems connected in Queensland, totalling over 260 megawatt hours of storage capacity.

  • EV uptake is also accelerating – 60% of EVs in Queensland were registered in the last 12 months to 31 August 2023.

  • 12 potential Renewable Energy Zones have been identified to be power and jobs generators in the future. 
  • In Gladstone, the cornerstone Central Queensland Hydrogen Project is expected to create almost 9000 jobs and produce 800 tonnes of green hydrogen a day by the early 2030s -- the equivalent to fuelling more than double Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet.

  • The 5GW Pioneer-Burdekin PHES proposed west of Mackay will be big enough to generate up to half of Queensland’s peak electricity demand. It will completely transform the Mackay region and is supported by $1B in the Budget. The PHES proposed at Borumba, south of Gympie, is initially slated to have an installed generation capacity of 2GW.  $6B has been committed in this year’s Budget to build the project, subject to environmental approvals.


To read the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, visit About the plan | Department of Energy and Public Works (


Media contact: Elise Williams – 0482 503 675