The emerging clean energy economy offers a window of opportunity for South-West Queensland. Capturing this potential requires a targeted and proactive policy approach that leverages the region’s entrenched advantages and lays the bedrock for sustained prosperity. Communities in south-west Queensland—including those which house our coal-fired generators—have long formed a cornerstone of our economy.
Yet, across the country, a massive change is already underway. Coal-fired generators are facing increased competition, with many set to close—unviable in the face of ever-cheaper renewable energy. And the days of insatiable global demand for our thermal coal exports are also numbered.
Such a shift should be met with optimism—not trepidation—in South-West Queensland. That’s because the region can prosper in the new energy economy. The only question is whether we have the courage and foresight to capitalise on these new opportunities.
Few nations share our combination of sunshine, wind, and access to financial and human capital. In addition, we possess an abundance of rare earth elements and critical minerals such as lithium—an essential input into the production of clean energy assets like batteries and critical technologies like computer chips.
Blueprint’s modelling indicates that approximately 6,200 new jobs in renewable energy projects will be created in south-west Queensland. Of these, nearly 1,000 are permanent, long-term positions. These are new jobs and drawn only from projects that are registered with the regulator, have commenced construction or clear construction dates, and clear funding routes.