Keeping the coal burning not a transparent or confidence building exercise 

Feb 14, 2023 | State News, Steve Thomas MLC

The Shadow Minister for Energy Dr Steve Thomas says the State Government’s inability to manage the state’s energy system was well and truly on display again today as Government handouts to a foreign owned coal miner were finally identified. 

“The McGowan Government has finally had to acknowledge the amount they were forced to make available to Griffin Coal in a desperate measure to ensure the lights stay on” Dr Thomas said. “This is despite the figure being called “commercial in confidence” by a Government spokesperson on the day it was announced in December.” 

“We now know that $19.5 million has been set aside “to date” for a foreign owned company that has already had both receivers and liquidators appointed.” 

Dr Thomas said that many questions remained on the use of the funding and the triggers for its draw down. 

“For a Government that promised gold standard transparency they have kept much of the conditions of this fund a secret.” 

“They originally said they would recoup the money; the next day the Premier admitted that was all but impossible, but today the Minister for State Development has again said it will be recovered.” 

“The Premier also indicated further bailouts would likely be required.” 

“Nobody seems to know what’s going on.” 

Dr Thomas also pointed to answers to questions in the Parliament today, which highlight the desperation and deception of the Government in energy supply. 

“This state is in the ridiculous situation of importing coal to Collie from Newcastle NSW in their panic to keep the lights on, today I asked at what cost” Dr Thomas said. 

“Today I asked the Government what the importation of 100,000 tonnes of coal cost Western Australian taxpayers, and the answer was once again “commercial in confidence” because Synergy is in a “competitive market.” 

“Surely this only matters if Synergy is expecting to have to import more coal in the future, otherwise there is no need for the secrecy. We can only hope the Government reverses the secrecy on this cost as it did with the Griffin cash.” 

“This surely demonstrates that the Government cannot guarantee electricity supply, and at the same time it is determined to keep secret the amount of money it is throwing at the problem.” 

“This will get worse every year under the transition plan it has announced but cannot make work.”