Queensland energy minister Anthony Lynham has announced he is retiring from his role as a state Labor MP, opening up the position as the head of a crucial portfolio at a crucial time in the state’s transition to 50 per cent renewables by 2030.
Lynham revealed on Thursday that he would not re-contest the inner-north Brisbane seat of Stafford in the upcoming Queensland election, after deciding to return to his previous career as a maxillofacial surgeon.
“As I told Parliament, I cannot maintain my medical registration and give 100% to this job,” Lynham said in a Tweet. “And the people of Stafford and Queensland deserve 100%.”
“I had to make a choice. I have achieved what I came here to do. I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to have done that,” the minister told Parliament. “It is now time to return to my first career to assist where I can, including in the pandemic now upon us.”
Lynham’s departure marks the end of a six-year stint as an MP and almost three years at the helm of the Queensland’s energy portfolio, having taken over the role from Mark Bailey in 2017.
It has been a busy time. As Lynham himself noted in a separate announcement on Thursday, Queensland has seen 41 large-scale renewable energy projects launched across the state since 2015, representing around $7.8 billion in investment and 6500 construction jobs.
And it’s only going to get busier. Just this week the Palaszczuk government launched a $500 million Renewable Energy Fund to increase public ownership of renewable projects and called for wind, solar, and storage proposals for the state’s renewable energy zones.
Despite this, the energy part of Lynham’s portfolio received little attention in his farewell speech, other than to offer vague thanks to “leaders of renewable energy bodies.”
Lynham said he would continue to serve as minister for natural resources, mines and energy in the Palaszczuk government until a new Minister was sworn in after October 31.