The report warns that the shift away from carbon-intensive energy “could pose a significant risk to future revenue streams for Queensland’s economy” given that it was a major exporter of fossil fuels.
It claims that green steel manufacturing could come close to replacing Australia’s export revenue from coal.
The report claimed there were greater economic benefits from creating green metals through the use of renewables or hydrogen than there were in exporting renewable energy.
“With the global demand for industrial metals continuing to rise and a growing imperative to insure against the risk of declining demand for high emitting industries, this opportunity presents an attractive area for industry development in Queensland,” it said.
The creation of a green metals manufacturing industry, that would be powered by renewable energy, would create 11,400 direct jobs and 4100 indirect and be the state’s biggest opportunity.
But the report also includes the potential of using Queensland’s sunshine, water and nutrients to grow algae to be used in foods, biofertilisers, biofuels and therapeutics.
And there were also thousands of jobs emerging in industries such as artificial intelligence in health care, resource recovery, disaster resilience, construction technology and additive biomanufacturing.
Additive biomanufacturing would mean using additive manufacturing processes for medical applications to provide highly customised body parts, scaffolds or medical devices. It had the potential to create about 3000 jobs.
The report also claimed that the agricultural sensors and automation sector alone was projected to create around 3600 direct and 11,000 indirect jobs in Queensland by 2030.
Although many believe that the so-called green steel was decades away from being a reality, the report said there were options to use gas rather than coal in its ovens which would reduce emissions by as much as 50 per cent. Renewable energy or hydrogen could be added as the technology improved.
There are already 523 green metal manufacturing businesses in Queensland and this was projected to increase to 2413 by 2030, but growth would need the Government to implement “demand-pull” policies and a green steel flagship project.
Sun Metals in Townsville was an example of what could be achieved through its use if renewable energy.
The creation of a green steel sector would also allow for the “carbon workers” of central Queensland to transition to new jobs.
“If Australia were to increase its share of global steel production from 0.3 per cent to 7 per cent (a feasible target based on current iron ore production) the Grattan Institute estimates that a green steel manufacturing industry in Australia could generate 25,000 jobs – 60 per cent would be in Queensland – and $65 billion in revenue,” the report said.
Minister for Science Meaghan Scanlon said the report would be a vital tool not only for industry looking for areas of opportunity, but also for universities and TAFE institutions looking to support of the next generation of Australian workers.
“This is where the demand for jobs will be in the next 10 to 20 years, the report offers signposts for areas of study and skills training,” Scanlon said.
“This report showcases where our scientific advantage can be leveraged and where opportunities for expansion and growth can be found.
“The Queensland Government has a role to play in building thriving ecosystems around each opportunity, across large and small business, investors, overseas players, entrepreneurs, and research institutes.
“DES’s science and technology division will work closely with other relevant Queensland Government agencies to identify policies and programs that can support the identified opportunities and will continue to provide the government with advice on how these and other options can support Queensland’s economic recovery.”
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