PShift: End to Country — Energy Policy in Queensland

“If we don’t change direction soon,
we’ll end up where we’re heading”

— IEA Energy Outlook, 2011

Over the past five years, the Queensland government has spent over $6.9 billion subsidising port, rail, road and other infrastructure for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry.

ALP taking more from single parents than from mining companiesThis heavily subsidised industry is now taking jobs away from other sectors as the high Australian dollar, due to the mining boom, causes other sectors such as manufacturing to contract. As well, social and economic dislocation has been reported in communities/towns located close to mining centres.

This analysis of  Energy Policy in Queensland is contained in a report by Trevor Berrill released one week out from the 2012 Queensland State Election. The report isClean Energy Pathways? A Review of Energy Policy in Queensland with A Regional Case Study of the Impacts on the Felton Valley

SunflowersIt reviews, critiques and compares the energy policy of the ALP, LNP, Greens and Australian Party for the coming election.

It identifies the scale of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry in Queensland over the past 5 years and the external costs of coal fired electricity to this state each year. According to the Berrill report, the external costs of pollution from Queensland’s current coal-fired electricity generation stations are in the order of $6 billion annually against coal mining royalties of about $2.3 billion.

It shows how the coal to liquid fuels project at Felton does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland’s transport sector and contrasts this proposal with a Sustainable Energy Plan for the region prepared by himself in 2010.

Friends of Felton organised an official media launch of the report on Fri (17 March 2012) at Toowoomba. This report (click on Clean Energy Pathways – Qld Energy Policy Review V2.pdf ) was part funded by the Friends of Felton group. fighting to stop a coal to liquid fuel mine and petrochemical plant on the Darling Downs.

Interview with Trevor Berrill on Energy policies in Queensland

Trevor Berrill is happy to give public presentations of this report.

His contact details are:
Trevor Berrill
Sustainable Energy Systems Consultant & Educator

Other articles  on Workers BushTelegraph that demonstrate systemic failure of the economic and political system to properly manage Queensland’s water, power, and transport systems in an ecologically sustainable way are:

Edge of Darkness: damned walls, floods and landslides

Edge of darkness: will flooding in Qld cause load shedding at power stations?


Clean Energy Pathways – Qld Energy Policy Review V3

Ian Curr
21 April 2013

8 thoughts on “PShift: End to Country — Energy Policy in Queensland

  1. KAP on Berrill Energy Report says:

    [Editor’s note: How ironic, the Katter’s Australia Party which has a poorly developed sustainable energy policy is using the Berrill report to criticise ALP and LNP policies!
    KAP may win as many as 5 seats including McLindon (Beaudesert), Rackemann (Nanango), Katter (Mt Isa). It is looking like the KAP will emerge after the election as the opposition to government policies!

    Perhaps KAP needs some advice on how to improve their energy policy!
    Here is the Courier Mail quoting the media release from Katter’s Australia Party]

    State government bankrolls CSG industry to the tune of $7 billion

    A study which shows the State Government has poured almost $7 billion worth of subsidies into the coal and coal seam gas industries in the past five years smashes the claim that Queensland is benefitting from the mining boom.

    State Leader of Katter’s Australian Party, Aidan McLindon, said that the Bligh Government was propping up the flawed coal seam gas industry and that rather than generating revenue for the state it was a drain on the taxpayer.

    “What we also know is that an army is building to revolt against the ALP and LNP. The LNP especially see it coming and that is why they are now running a deceitful campaign against the only party that wants to change the law to allow landholders to shut the gate.”

  2. Mining and the two speed economy says:

    The Australia Institute hosted a forum in Brisbane on this topic that was well attended by about 120-140 people. The panel comprised of representatives from manufacturing, tourism and farming industries. The farmer from Felton pointed out that the price of his crops of sorghum were set in Chicago but because of the foreign exchange rate of the $A those prices were halved at the farm gate.

    The economist present was very critical of mining and its effects on the economy however kept saying that he had no problem with capitalism or ownership of Australia’s natural resources by transnational companies (like Rio Tinto and BHP).

    There was little said by the panel about the social impact of ‘fly in, fly out’ workforces into mining camps that house the workers who build the mines until a woman in the audience put the all male panel on the spot and named some of the effects especially on women.

    Someone else from the audience said that coal is such a useful substance future generations will wonder why it was burnt and released into the atmosphere.

    The question I did not ask of the panel was if capitalism is such a good system why, in a state that depends so much on the transportation of minerals and grain from one place to another, has the state government sold the rail system to a private consortium? It took Qld workers over 150 years to build this system. QRail was able to subsidise urban rail with the money it earnt from carting coal and minerals, so why sell it?

    Ian Curr
    March 2012

    Flyer for event at

  3. LNP AXE Falls on Solar Projects says:

    LNP AXE Falls on Solar Projects
    The LNP has just slashed a $75 million Government investment in a large scale solar project in
    Queensland on the pretence that this will save Queenslander’s money. “Nothing could be further from the truth” claims independent energy analyst and sustainable energy expert, Trevor Berrill. As well, the LNP plan to slash another $200 million from existing carbon pollution reduction programs. Many of these programs were essentially cost neutral over time through energy and water savings and are helping Queensland homes and businesses to reduce costs.

    “This is not what Queenslander’s voted for. They voted against Labor for its mismanagement of the
    economy and rising costs of living, most of which are associated with subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and infrastructure costs”, said Mr Berrill.

    Trevor has just spent the past 2 months examining in detail the energy policy of each of the political
    parties in Queensland. His report, available at, has shown that Queensland has been subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $1.4 billion per year over the past 5 years with plans for at least a further $13 billion. The LNP resources and energy policy requires that this continue due to their strong support for coal and gas industry expansion.

    The report contrasts the costs of coal and gas development relative to royalties and payroll tax income. For example, the current Coal Plan projects $25.5 billion in mostly State expenditure, of which $7 billion has been spent. As well , the report identifies an estimated $6 billion each year in external costs to the State from pollution, climate change infrastructure damage and health costs from fossil fuel electricity generation. For example, the cost of cyclone Yasi and the floods is estimated at $10 billion (EQECAT report). Such extreme events, happening each year now around Australia, are completely consistent with climate change science predictions. Contrast these costs to the State’s meagre royalty income in 2010/11 of $2.3 billion and payroll taxes of about $90 million.

    “Queenslander’s strongly support solar industry development, as shown by their enthusiastic uptake ofsolar electric systems and solar hot water systems on their homes. They don’t want these schemes
    slashed”, commented Mr Berrill.

    Contact Details
    Trevor Berrill
    Independent Energy Analyst and Sustainable Energy Expert
    3207 5077 (preferable) or 0400 177283

  4. Ambre Energy Goes Under says:

    Friends of Felton
    Launch of “Clean Energy Pathways? A Review of Energy Policy in Queensland with A Regional Case Study of the Impacts on the Felton Valley“ by Trevor Berrill in Toowoomba, Qld.

    Meanwhile environmental groups in Washington State on the US west coast say Ambre Energy had told local authorities it planned to develop a relatively small port, capable of handling 5.7 million tonnes of coal a year.

    But it was later discovered Ambre had secretly planned to develop the biggest coal port on the US west coast on the site, a facility up to 10 times the size publicly proposed…

    The revelation was contained in a Dec. 22, 2010 note from Ambre Energy CEO Edek Choros. The company initially announced the terminal would export 5.7 million tons annually.

    It followed release of internal company e-mails revealing that the company wanted Longview to be the West Coast’s largest coal terminal. The e-mails and internal documents were released as part of an appeal of the port expansion to Washington state’s Shoreline Hearings Board.

    The State Department of Ecology has joined the challenge. The state board is scheduled to hear the appeal in April 2011. See


  5. Podcast of 'An End to Country' available on SoundCloud soon says:

    The podcast of the panel discussion with Shaun Murray (Friends of the Earth) and Trevor Berrill on today’s PShift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fri 19 April 2013) will be available in the next few days.

    In the meantime here is: Cost of Coal and Gas to Qlders

    PShift podcasts are at

    Ian Curr
    19 April 2013

  6. Free Uni: Critical decisions in everyday life and climate change says:

    Brisbane Free Uni welcomes you to join us in a discussion vital for our times.

    Featuring presentations by:

    Michael Vincent: PhD Candidate at The University of Queensland.

    Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaca: Lecturer in ethics, politics and law at the University of Queensland.

    Presentations will be followed by discussion time.

    About the speakers:

    Michael will discuss the importance of critical reasoning skills to anyone wanting to be a democratic citizen, community leader, activist, or other political actor. He will cover what critical reasoning is, why it is important to promote it and develop it in oneself, and some of the basic reasoning mistakes people commonly make.

    Guilherme is a keen migrant, having lived and studied law and social sciences in Portugal, Italy, Israel, Germany and Australia. He currently lectures Ethics in International Politics at UQ, but above all, he is interested in teaching students to unleash their potential.

    Tea provided (bring your own mug!).

    All welcome, mug-less or otherwise.

  7. Don't let Clive Palmer mine Bimblebox says:

    Can you find local businesses to host our petition?

    We don’t have long – only until this Monday May 6.

    We’re hoping to round up a whole pile of signatures from people objecting to the Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that covers the coal mine planned for where our Nature Refuge is.

    (For more info about this precious conservation area in the Desert Uplands in Central Queensland, and the coal mining proposal that threatens it, check out

    (And if you only have time for some clicktivism, please sign online here:

    We would really appreciate some help making multiples of a one-page template “submission” to available to different outlets, and then picking up the signed ones in time to fax them to the Coordinator General THIS MONDAY May 6.

    With many of us communicating a clear message about Waratah Coal’s proposal, we may stand a tiny chance. Out here in the sticks (caring for the refuge), we can’t do that kind of ground work in the city for ourselves.

    So – the one page “submission” is here:

    A little notice to leave with any “submissions” is here:

    Print it double sided. If you expect 10 signatures, print 10.

    FAXING THEM IN YOURSELF? The fax number is: Fax: +61 7 3225 8282
    (We suggest you put a heading on the fax along the lines of ‘RE: Waratah Coal’s China First SEIS’)

    WANT SOME HELP TO FAX? Email with a phone number, and we’ll give you a call to organise picking up and faxing your signed submissions (in Brisbane).

    What do you think!!? Comment on this thread if you’re offering to take responsibility for dropping off and picking up submissions from a particular store? That way we’ll know if anything’s happening.

    Here’s hoping and thanks so much as always.


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