“The pure economics say right now is exactly the right time for major investment in the industries and infrastructure of the future.
“If we get the economics right, this will be a time we focus on investment for the future rather than stimulus that isn’t guided by strategic opportunity.”
Professor Garnaut, who was joined onstage by Energy Minister Anthony Lynham, said Queensland’s future was in processing its own minerals, rather than shipping them overseas to be turned into metals.
The high cost of transporting renewable energy overseas made Australia the perfect candidate to process its own iron, aluminium and other raw minerals, he said.
“Play it right and Australia has exceptional opportunities for new areas of prosperity and economic expansion in the zero-emissions world economy,” he said.
“It is an Australian opportunity, but also especially a Queensland opportunity.”
The economist, who authored a landmark climate review for Labor government in 2008, said Dr Lynham should “find common cause” with Treasurer Jackie Trad and find ways to support the transition to renewable energy when she delivered her April budget.
Dr Lynham said Queensland’s renewable energy sector was “waiting for the financial signals to move” and with help from the federal government, could help rebuild the economy.
“I agree entirely with Ross, and he knows as I do, there is a lot of investment required in a transition into a renewable energy future,” he said.