Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls made a very quick stop in Gladstone on his way to Biloela yesterday.
Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls made a very quick stop in Gladstone on his way to Biloela yesterday. Mike Richards GLA240717SLNP

'Muscle town': Council fights LNP leader over power station

QUEENSLAND'S opposition leader could not commit to supporting building a new coal-fired power station in Gladstone, despite our local and federal politicians begging for it.

Liberal National Party Queensland leader Tim Nicholls told The Observer during a quick trip to Gladstone that building an "ultra super critical" power station closer to Townsville would solve long-term issues.

His comments come days after Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett and deputy mayor Chris Trevor made their case to Resources and Northern Australia Minister Senator Matt Canavan about building a power station in Gladstone.

Cr Burnett and Cr Trevor argue Gladstone has the skilled workforce, infrastructure and the land to build one.

But Mr Nicholls has already told the north they're first in line for the $2-3 billion new generation coal-fired power plant if he is elected during the next state election.

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"There's a couple of issues in relation to it ... currently there are transmission losses in moving power up and down the wires, you lose 30% of the power by the time it reaches Townsville and more for Cairns," he said.

Cr Trevor said Mr Nicholls' comments were "disappointing".

"There's no reason why any potential future premier should be giving preferences to a particular region or constituency," Cr Trevor said.

But Mr Nicholls, in the region for a community forum in Biloela yesterday, said Gladstone would still benefit from another coal-fired power station coming online in the way of more affordable electricity.

Describing Gladstone as "Queensland's muscle town", Mr Nicholls said cheap power was essential for businesses and residents.

He also criticised member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher for not doing more to prevent job losses at Boyne Smelter Limited earlier this year.

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"(If the LNP was in government) We would ensure there was power made available at a price that's affordable without being taken for a ride to support the ongoing production at Boyne," he said.

While the Queensland LNP has 41 candidates and 38 current members, it is yet to offer a Gladstone candidate for the next state election.

Mr Nicholls said there were "a number" of potential candidates for Gladstone and dismissed Mr Butcher's comment that if other candidates were "fair dinkum" they would already be campaigning.

"If Labor was serious they would have candidates in the seat of Clayfield," Mr Nicholls said.

"We have a strict and stringent process for this and we want to make sure that our candidates sit within our values and have the requisite community involvement to be able to campaign strongly."

Mr Nicholls was in Gladstone yesterday morning before travelling to Biloela for a community forum with Callide candidate Colin Boyce.



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