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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 816 asked in the Legislative Council on 14 October 2021 by Hon Dr Steve Thomas

Minister responding: Hon A. MacTiernan
Parliament: 41 Session: 1

Answered on

BIOENERGY — COLLIE

816. Hon Dr STEVE THOMAS to the Minister for Regional Development:

I refer to the state government's October 2021 publication Welcome to Collie: Your investment destination, targeting private investment in Collie industry, which on page 16 states —

There is significant opportunity for the development of bioenergy and bioproducts industries in the Collie region �

(1) What are the specific bioenergy and bioproducts industry opportunities in Collie?

(2) What building blocks are in place for bioenergy and advanced bioproducts industries in Collie?

(3) What biomass supply chains will the state government commit to deliver in order to provide prospective proponents in Collie?

(4) In light of this glossy marketing exercise, why did the McGowan government abandon its commitment to build a $30 million biomass energy plant and a $30 million solar farm, and why is it so far behind in its commitment to establish timber plantations to grow biomass feedstock?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

(1)–(4) I do not accept the premise of many parts of that question. It is true that in 2016 we made commitments that coming into government we would have the $30 million biomass plant and a $30 million solar farm. Indeed, the member is someone I understood was calling for us to do this—that is, to weave those amounts of money into the Collie industry attraction fund and the Collie futures fund. The whole purpose of that was not saying that there was not going to be any bioenergy or bioproducts industries—indeed, there are some being worked on—but it was to give us greater flexibility. To date, I think we have allocated in the order of $50 million towards projects that cover a wide variety of things, and not simply bioenergy. Of course, there are bioenergy products that are part of the plan. For example, the document includes information on the Renergi Pty Ltd bioenergy and bioproduct project. We are supporting Renergi to deliver a commercial-scale demonstration plant in Collie that will recycle municipal solid waste and biomass to produce bio-oil and biochar. Quite clearly, the Collie region has the basic building blocks to support a bioenergy and bioproducts industry, as well as many other industries. The potential biomass sources are varied and include private supplies of horticulture, waste and waste from broadacre cropping. The region around Collie has the right climatic conditions for growing a wide range of feedstock.