March 13, 2019




SUSAN LAMB: Thanks everybody, wonderful to be here this afternoon with the Shadow Minister, Mark Butler and, of course, with Doctor Evan Jones with the Morayfield Health Hub. And we’re here at the Morayfield Health Hub, with Paul from NuGreen and the architects of the Morayfield Health Hub to announce the solar project here that the Health Hub have invested in. There is nothing more important than the health and education of people in our community and right here at the Health Hub this has taken an extra step which is actually about being smarter and greener when we think about the delivery of healthcare services, so I’m going to invite Evan to talk us through the project, how big it is and the outcomes we can expect.

DOCTOR EVAN JONES, DIRECTOR MORAYFIELD HEALTH HUB: Thank you, here at the Morayfield Health Hub, this is a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary patient-centred model with about 15,000 square metres of health facilities and because health and climate change are so inextricably linked we wanted to make sure for this building we were actually able to have a sustainable model around what we were doing in terms of energy consumption. And so with this project we’re not only recycling the buildings, this is an ex-Bunnings Warehouse, so we’ve recycled the building, we’ve put in energy efficient LED lighting, we’ve got rain-water saving and today we’re announcing the completion of our project for the development of a 404 kilowatt system of rooftop solar power, so not only is this good for the environment but it’s actually good for small businesses to be investing in this. And our payback on this investment is 4.3 years, so an internal rate of return of about 20 per cent. So it just makes smart business to be able to invest in this type of solar capacity, as well as being able to help the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. So I want to thank Mark Butler and Susan for taking the time to come here and thank all of our guest who have come here today and very much NuGreen for all of the work that they’ve done in actually installing a very impressive solar array on our roof, thank you. I’ll just hand-over to Mark.

MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY: It’s great to be back here, I think 16 months ago Susan and I visited where this was more of a shell than it is now, and there’s still more work to do but already you’re providing great healthcare to thousands of members of this community every week so congratulations on that. And as Doctor Jones has said a good public health policy and good climate policy are very closely linked, because we know that one of the most significant impacts of climate change now and it coming decades are going to be health impacts for members of a country like Australia that already pushes us right up against the limits of human tolerance. We also know that the healthcare sector is a big user of energy, so it, along with other sectors of the economy, have a responsibility to try and deliver their services and run their businesses in a more energy efficient and sustainable way and the Morayfield Health Hub has shown itself to be a great leader, a real innovator in this area with this new health service, congratulations on the solar array and all the other things that you are doing to make this service a sustainable, green-building service as well as, obviously, your primary job which is to deliver great healthcare. 

I really want to emphasise Doctor Jones’s point that this makes economic sense, this is the no-brainer decision for businesses thinking about their energy future. While power bills have been going up and up over recent years because of energy policy chaos in Canberra, the cost of solar panels have been continuing to come down, as Doctor Jones says, the payback period for a company or a business making an investment decision like this is less than 5 years. So while there continues to be these debates within the Coalition in Canberra about whether we should be building new coal-fired power stations, or something like that, businesses that are really crunching the numbers recognise that, not only is this the cleanest way to power their businesses in the future, it’s also the cheapest way. Congratulations.

JOURNALIST: So are you using this as a bit of a blueprint for, as you said this was a Bunnings that has been revamped, so you can utilise old structure.

BUTLER: That’s right, that’s why this is so exciting to come back after 16 months and see this business continue to develop. We’ve got obviously wonderful healthcare services but because this is such a sustainable model, it’s not demolished the whole of the Bunnings’ building, it’s used a whole lot of that building infrastructure, so saving a whole lot in landfill and a whole range of other things like that, its energy efficiency design is world leading, its use of solar energy is world leading as well so it is a great model for business, but businesses across the country recognise that this makes economic sense. This is important for their businesses viability as well as sustainability as power bills continue to go up and up and up, becoming more energy efficient, becoming more self-sufficient in electricity generation is  a no-brainer for most businesses.

JOURNALIST: This infrastructure, does it use battery storage system or is this just creating power for the building during daylight hours?

JONES: At the moment the solar array produces 404 kilowatts through the day but we’ve actually built this with a battery room so that as the prices of batteries come down and it makes economic sense, we’ll put in a battery system and that will provide us with a very large UPS that will be able to manage some of our power supplies through the night then.

JOURNALIST: So is the large storage system like this? Are you procuring excess power?

JONES: Not at the moment, we’re utilising all of that power within our facilities at this point in time, there might be parts of the day where some of it may be available but in general, no, this system is about what we’re utilising here and dramatically reducing our carbon footprint.