Feds set to put up $11m for power link

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has revealed the amount of extra Federal Government money they will invest in CopperString 2.0.

When the major funding boost was announced during the federal budget, the Commonwealth refused to reveal how much the Townsville to Mt Isa transmission line project would receive.

But on a trip to the North West yesterday, the Prime Minister announced it would fund up to $11m to progress the essential CopperString 2.0 project to Final Investment Decision in 2021.

This brings the federal government's investment into the project to $16.17m. CopperString 2.0 will connect the northwest to the national electricity grid for the first time.

Mr Morrison said the project would bring power prices down, create 750 direct construction jobs and unlock significant economic potential in the North West Minerals Province.

"Access to affordable and reliable energy supply will help drive new investment and new opportunities, providing a long-term future for families, businesses and local communities from Townsville to Mount Isa," he said.

Townsville Enterprise Interim chief executive Wayde Chiesa said CopperString had the potential to not only sustain existing operations in the North West but to assist in realising the $680bn worth of untapped known minerals in the region.

POOL - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to local farmers Don and Kirsty Moore during a visit to the Moore family farm in Cloncurry, QLD, Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
POOL - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to local farmers Don and Kirsty Moore during a visit to the Moore family farm in Cloncurry, QLD, Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

"When we travelled the 1000km from Townsville to Mount Isa last year we saw this potential first-hand and repeatedly heard the opportunities CopperString will unlock from every community and operation we visited," Mr Chiesa said.

"Additionally, the North West road trip demonstrated how key projects, like CopperString, will drive new jobs and play a meaningful role in assisting the state and nation's COVID-19 recovery.

"The cost of electricity makes up 25 per cent of the operational costs of the resources sector in the North West, but as those costs are driven down, new investment and new jobs will be on the rise.

"Importantly, the impacts from lower energy prices in the north will not only be of enormous benefit to our resources sector, but for a supply chain of businesses from Mount Isa to Mount Louisa.

"This project becoming a reality means that affordable power generated in Hughenden will also be able to be used by industry here in Townsville. This not only helps existing industries but could create new industries in North Queensland such as hydrogen production."

Federal MP for Kennedy, Bob Katter said CopperString would breathe new life into the money-making North West Minerals Province.

"But due to the current supply being gas, we are paying an exorbitant price for electricity, and are now seeing the collapse of the mid-west," Mr Katter said. The project needed to be built sooner rather than later to prevent the collapse of the region, he said.

Originally published as Feds set to put up $11m for power link


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