Western Australians are now paying record high petrol prices because of the world-wide oil price shock. At the same time, we are missing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to turbo charge our economy into becoming a world producer of green exportable energy.
Dr David Honey, WA Liberal Leader and Shadow Energy Minister, said Russia – the second largest exporter of petroleum in the world – has warned that the price of crude oil could surge to an economically devastating $300 a barrel.
“This should send shockwaves through the WA Labor Government in Western Australia because of their incompetence in developing export renewable energy opportunities such as hydrogen production in our State.
“It is clear that record world oil prices will now drive massive new international investment in world export hydrogen production.
“However, instead of leading the race to become a world giant exporter of renewable green energy, such as hydrogen which could create thousands of new highly paid jobs for several decades, Western Australia is rapidly becoming ‘an also ran’.
“For example, it should be an embarrassment to the WA Labor Government that on 28 February this year, Western Australian industrialist, Andrew Forrest turned the sod to begin construction on the world’s largest hydrogen manufacturing facility in Gladstone Queensland. At the same time, he announced a $3 billion investment in a nearby wind, solar and battery farm.
“He openly stated that he would have preferred to build this project in Western Australia, his home State.
“Even Victoria recently announced that Australia’s first purpose-built assembly plant to manufacture hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles will be developed in Melbourne’s east.
“There has been lots of talk and announcements by the WA Labor Government about developing a green hydrogen industry in Western Australia but in reality there has been little or no action on the ground.
“Labor’s request last year to the Morrison Federal Government to match the proposed $117.5 million for hydrogen hubs in the Mid-West and Pilbara is another example of incompetence and missing the boat. It was a desperate, inadequate and belated attempt to ‘appear’ to be acting on green hydrogen after driving potential projects both interstate and overseas.
“Their 11th hour proposal for $235 million joint Federal/State funding for the Oakajee and the Pilbara hydrogen hubs shows an embarrassing lack of planning as the funding falls woefully short of what is required to make these hubs a reality.
“Labor has consistently failed to secure the opportunity for our State to transition from being a world-leading LNG exporter to become a world-class future clean-energy supplier.
“It is clear they are playing at catch-up and making policy on the run after years of inaction.
“I have been to Oakajee, just north of Geraldton in the Mid-West. Currently, it is an overgrown paddock with no heavy vehicle/rail access or infrastructure connections.
Similarly, whatever is Labor’s plan for a Hydrogen Hub in the Pilbara is still a pipedream – yet to be detailed or prepared on the ground in any way at all.
“The Mid-West project alone puts into perspective how deficient the infrastructure funding commitment is given the sheer scale of land, roads, rail, water and power required and not yet committed let alone started.
“WA Labor’s lack of real effort is further highlighted by the fact that there is no effective consideration of the essential critical minerals industry that also has been ignored by their Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Johnston,” said Dr Honey.