A post election reshuffle of the Queensland cabinet has delivered a new energy minister for the state, with Anthony Lynham taking over the portfolio from Mark Bailey, and adding it to his current roles as minister for resources and state development.
So what do we know about the new minister in charge of – among other things – one of Australia’s large-scale renewable energy hotspots, and the man required to set the path towards the target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030?
According to our research, Dr Anthony Lynham has been a member of Queensland Parliament since 2014, when he left a “very successful career”as a maxillofacial surgeon to run for the Labor Party in the inner Brisbane seat of Stafford.
He has previously served as shadow minister for education, science, IT and innovation and, according to his Parliamentary website, has also held roles as associate professor at the University of Queensland Medical School, and an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology.
On his watch as resources minister earlier this year, underground coal gasification (UCG) was banned in the state due to its environmental impact “far outweighing any potential economic benefits.”
However, in April, Dr Lynham opened up 270 square kilometres of central Queensland to bids from coal mining explorers, with the announcement of tenders for four blocks in Bowen Basin – the first release of the state’s coal country in four years.
“Resource developments which create jobs and attract economic investment to our regional communities must start with exploration,” he said at the time.
A cursory look at his Twitter feed, though, does reveal a history of support for Australian renewable energy projects, such as the Kidston solar and pumped hydro project in Queensland’s north – on which he has re-tweeted a RenewEconomy story.
And he knows his way around a selfie.
Swearing-in selfie with the Stafford electorate team. Gr8 honour to be serving the people of Qld in this important mines & energy portfolio. @QRCouncil@MiningQLD@EnergyQld@WaterQld#Qldpolpic.twitter.com/lhW3vH78wI
— Dr Anthony Lynham (@DrAnthonyLynham) December 12, 2017
The renewable energy industry will be keen to know how quickly he will move on the Renew400 program, the reverse tender for renewable and storage technologies, and on proposals such as the grid extension to accommodate the raft of new renewable and storage projects in north Queensland.