$3m innovation hub, centre for excellence promised for city
GLADSTONE will have a $3 million innovation hub to test the latest hydrogen production technology, Bill Shorten has promised.
Rolling into town on his big red Bill Bus, the Opposition Leader said the hub, which would usually be built in Canberra, would be based in Gladstone to make the region at the centre of new developments.
Making pre-election promises in towns with marginal seats, Mr Shorten said the innovation hub and centre of excellence would prove Gladstone was no "one-trick town".
While it is yet to be decided where the hub would be built in Gladstone, it would be the home for testing technologies and would be the place for businesses to seek funding for hydrogen research or development.
The hub forms part of the $1.14 billion National Hydrogen Plan, which has been slammed by Resources Minister Matt Canavan.
"This is more than a one- trick town," Mr Shorten said.
"Gladstone has done the hard work and it deserves an innovative hub and centre of excellence.
"That's why we're backing Queenslanders by putting this innovation centre not in Canberra, but in Gladstone."
Aptly making the announcement at Northern Oil refinery at Yarwun, Mr Shorten said Australia needed to be prepared for the world's hydrogen needs.
The refinery produces a bio-diesel from waste, consuming the expensive gas.
Labor's deputy chair of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy, Pat Conroy, said the Port City was one of the best locations in the nation to produce and export hydrogen.
By 2022 the global hydrogen market is estimated to be worth $215 million, with the main consumers expected to be Japan and South Korea.
Mr Conroy said the CSIRO's hydrogen roadmap showed the best locations to produce the gas needed to be close to renewable energy and a deep-water port.
But resources minister Matt Canavan said promising a hydrogen industry boom and thousands of jobs was "shameless", with any production and exports "decades away".
Mr Canavan also said the $1 billion investment should not be spruiked as new investment, because the CEFC could already invest in hydrogen.
In response, Mr Shorten criticised Mr Canavan and the Liberal National Party for "attacking Labor's vision".
He said if elected, work on the innovation hub would start on "day one".
Northern Oil Refinery director of corporate affairs Troy Collings said the innovation hub would encourage private investment in Gladstone.
The facility is exploring two ways to produce hydrogen: by testing steam over iron and solar electrolysis.
Mr Collings said the company's focus was to create hydrogen for its own use or the domestic market.
"Domestically, hydrogen is a necessary input for production of fertiliser, as well as margarine, edible oils and paints," he said.
"Our priority is focused on producing a domestic renewable fuel, so we are going to be a user and generator of hydrogen, which puts us in a unique position."
Mr Collings said Gladstone was well positioned for the hydrogen industry because of its deep-water port and proven success in large-scale projects.
"It is no coincidence that the potential prime minister came to the Northern Oil site to announce this hydrogen plan," he said.
"Gladstone has the advantage."