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Queensland names new energy minister – meet Dr Anthony Lynham

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A post election reshuffle of the Queensland cabinet has delivered a new energy minister for the state, with Anthony Lynham taking over the portfolio from Mark Bailey, and adding it to his current roles as minister for resources and state development.

So what do we know about the new minister in charge of – among other things – one of Australia’s large-scale renewable energy hotspots, and the man required to set the path towards the target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030? MemberImgHandler.ashx copy

According to our research, Dr Anthony Lynham has been a member of Queensland Parliament since 2014, when he left a “very successful career”as a maxillofacial surgeon to run for the Labor Party in the inner Brisbane seat of Stafford.

He has previously served as shadow minister for education, science, IT and innovation and, according to his Parliamentary website, has also held roles as associate professor at the University of Queensland Medical School, and an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology.

On his watch as resources minister earlier this year, underground coal gasification (UCG) was banned in the state due to its environmental impact “far outweighing any potential economic benefits.”

However, in April, Dr Lynham opened up 270 square kilometres of central Queensland to bids from coal mining explorers, with the announcement of tenders for four blocks in Bowen Basin – the first release of the state’s coal country in four years.

“Resource developments which create jobs and attract economic investment to our regional communities must start with exploration,” he said at the time.

A cursory look at his Twitter feed, though, does reveal a history of support for Australian renewable energy projects, such as the Kidston solar and pumped hydro project in Queensland’s north – on which he has re-tweeted a RenewEconomy story.

And he knows his way around a selfie.

The renewable energy industry will be keen to know how quickly he will move on the Renew400 program, the reverse tender for renewable and storage technologies, and on proposals such as the grid extension to accommodate the raft of new renewable and storage projects in north Queensland.

 

  

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  • Joe

    I’m glad that he is the Energy Minister and ‘The Minister for Energy and Adani’.

  • Patrick Comerford

    With a majority Labor government now in charge it is reasonable to expect good progress to be made in transitioning the state grid to renewable energy to meet the 50% target and to also bolster the critical evaluation of the monkey business going under the guise of Turnbulls energy policy the NEG.
    Labor was returned with an increase in MPs due to the express wishes which included the Adani backflip, of a large proportion of the population here in SEQ.
    It is a good move to create a state owned renewable energy corporation to ensure that the state irrespective of the nonsense coming from Turnbull starts to fast track renewables development with an orderly transition away from FF generation asap.

    • Hettie

      Lucky Qld.
      Meanwhile, back in NSW, Gladys toes the coalition party line……

  • rob

    Sorry……..This idiot has opened up 270 Sq km for New Coal exploration! The adoration in this article and comments so far make me want to PUKE! FFS more COAL! Or have
    I read a different article to everyone else?

    • Farmer Dave

      I agree with your strong reservations, Rob. If we are to have any chance of staying below 2 degrees C of warming, then we cannot produce all the coal, oil and gas from all the mines and wells currently producing, let alone expand existing ones. In this situation, starting new mines and oil and gas fields is not on, and hence the widespread determination to stop Adani. Therefore, encouraging exploration for new coal, oil, and gas reserves is even further out on the irresponsible madness spectrum.

      Unfortunately, business as usual has organisations, structures and momentum to support it. There would be a small group of Queensland public servants whose job it is to encourage mineral exploration, and in the absence of a formal policy change to stop including coal, oil and gas in the minerals being explored for, those public servants will just keep doing what they are paid to do. I can imagine a scenario in which the new Minister, on his first full day in the job, would be given a pile of papers to sign “just a few completely routine matters for you to approve, Minister, that have accumulated since the beginning of the caretaker period…” The release of the areas for coal exploration would have been among the “routine matters”, because up until now, that is what it has been.

      So, the challenge for all Queenslanders reading this is to greet the new Minister with an avalanche of letters which politely point out why the current policy is wrong and needs to be changed forthwith. Even then, the Minister would likely have to take the policy change to Cabinet and persuade his colleagues of the need to ignore the lobbyists and change the policy. We will know we are collectively making progress when fossil fuel exploration is banned – and know that we are failing until it is.

      • rob

        Not just Queenslanders Farmer Dave! I live in S.A. and thanks to @bobbrownfoundation I received 12 STOP ADANI stickers which are now plastered on all the neighbourhoods cars! The approvals for the bidding went out in APRIL so I would be guessing they are a done deal by now!

  • Ray Miller

    The opportunities, especially for north Queensland are in diverting the extensive and quality engineering and workforce resources that was involved in coal mining into the transition to renewables. Effectively done the many resources will super charge the change the transition.
    Reading the tea leaves, coal is dead, anyone investing in it are likely to loose the shirt off their back.