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It’s still mostly about coal for Queensland infrastructure planning

Gold Coast Light Rail

The Queensland government this week released its Draft Infrastructure Plan for the state, with good news for rail, light rail and bikeways, and a plan to work on climate change resilience, sustainability assessments and lifecycle costings for infrastructure projects.

But the bad news is that the among infrastructure funding includes allocations to support rail for expansion of coal mining in the Galilee Basin and coal seam gas extraction in the Surat Basin.

Most of the funding for transport infrastructure is being directed towards road projects, including upgrades to the Bruce Highway.

Rail will get just under $1 billion for the Moreton Bay Rail Link and there will be $112 million to cover active transport projects such as the North Brisbane bikeway.

The second stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail is also part of the draft plan. Funding is yet to be confirmed, with commercial negotiations currently underway.

In the energy sector, a small shift towards renewables appears evident, with projects proposed including a $17.9 million renewable power station for Palm Island, $300,700 for the Camooweal Solar project, and just under $38 million for the Wivenhoe Hydro Power Station works.

The state government is, however, also proposing to spend just under $280 million on the coal-fired Callide Power Station project, a joint venture between CS Energy and InterGen; over $158 million on the Kogan Creek Power Station and mine works; and $330 million on the coal-fired Stanwell and Tarong power stations.

It also plans to support and promote trials of Total Energy Planning projects, such as in Oonoonba near Townsville.

“The Queensland Government is supporting and promoting trials of Total Energy Planning practices for new residential and commercial developments,” the plan stated.

“TEP aims to deliver lower energy consumption and costs to consumers, which in turn reduces infrastructure requirements for developers and utilities.

“Modelling indicates TEP can potentially reduce peak electricity demand by more than 50 per cent in comparison to existing developments. Reductions in peak demand and total consumption are achieved through higher energy rating standards for new dwellings, energy efficient hot water and airconditioning, and lot and dwelling diversity, which leads to greater cooling efficiencies for occupants.”

Comments on the draft SIP are open until 4 December 2015.

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