Brown Coal Innovation - Parliament Adjournment Speech (May 22)
*** DAILY HANSARD PROOF ONLY ***
Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (20:19:43) — My adjournment matter this evening is for the Treasurer, the Honourable Tim Pallas, in the other place. The action I seek from the Treasurer is that he provide critical funding to enable Brown Coal Innovation Australia to continue its work into research and development opportunities for the use of brown coal across Victoria and in particular in my electorate in Central Gippsland. The Andrews Labor government made a statement on the future uses of brown coal in which it said, and I quote:
We commit to:
using our brown coal resources in a manner that maximises its long term value for Victorians …
adopting an 'open for business' approach to supporting new investment and research opportunities in projects using coal.
That is a statement by the Andrews Labor Government. Brown Coal Innovation Australia has been jointly funded by state and commonwealth governments since 2009. In fact the commonwealth government matches dollar for dollar the state government input. I was informed recently, and was very distressed to learn, that whilst the government have made this statement and their rhetoric is out there, their actions are not. Brown Coal Innovation Australia said they have received no funding in the May budget and they are at risk of not being able to continue on in their current manner.
Reviews on Brown Coal Innovation Australia have been quite impressive. Building on the $15 million investment by the state, they have been able to deliver a $57 million program of activities, and I will give a couple of examples. A coal-to- hydrogen project, supported by Brown Coal Innovation Australia in its early development stage, is now scaling up with plans for a multibillion-dollar project across Victoria. Its funding has also enabled three carbon capture plants to operate at power stations across Victoria. Brown Coal Innovation Australia funding has taken the direct injection carbon engine technology, which promises a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, which is very important, into a test facility in the Japan market putting this on the pathway towards commercialisation. Its funding has supported
40 higher degree students and led to six patents and nearly 700 academic publications. The company has built strong links to international research and development programs and technology partners, maximising the chance for collaboration.
The company has research facilities in the Latrobe Valley and also in Melbourne. The next sorts of projects they are looking to develop are low emissions coal-fired power, a flexible power generation that can back up renewables when they come on board and provide dispatchable power. They are also looking at applications for coal in fertilisers and chemicals, and in increasing stability in iron and steel and carbon capture technology. It is very important research that the Treasurer needs to fund into the future to allow the company to continue with their research and development into uses for our great resource.