17 April 2023

Barr trade mission to South Korea and Japan to focus on energy transition

| Ian Bushnell
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Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr will explore electrification options for the ACT, including hydrogen fuel cell technology. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Electrifying transport and households to meet the ACT’s climate goals will be a key part of Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s latest trade mission, this time to South Korea and Japan.

Mr Barr, Commissioner for International Engagement Brendan Smyth, Coordinator General of Climate Action Sam Engele and a staff member flew out of Canberra this morning for Seoul.

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A government spokesperson said this mission had a focus on the electrification of the ACT but the two North Asian countries had also been identified as key markets in the current ACT tourism strategy.

The mission will also include a site visit to the Seoul Arts Centre, which would offer valuable insights into modern theatre precincts in light of the upcoming Canberra Theatre Centre redevelopment, and a short visit to Japanese sister city Nara.

In Nara, Mr Barr will mark the 30th anniversary of that relationship, and the Mayor will be invited to Canberra’s spring Candle Festival.

The group will hold meetings with LG, hydrogen proponent H2 Korea, Samsung, vehicle maker Hyundai, Panasonic and other relevant businesses on implementing the ACT’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 as part of the ACT Climate Change Strategy.

On the agenda will be the supply of public and private electric transport as the ACT looks to buy 90 electric buses as part of the conversion of public transport to zero-emission fleets.

Hyundai’s Elec City buses use battery or hydrogen fuel cell technology. The company also makes hydrogen fuel cell cars and electric battery vehicles, which are already part of the ACT Government fleet.

The trade mission comes as the Federal Government prepares to make a major statement on EVs, expected to include new fuel emission standards that should open the way for manufacturers to introduce new models to the Australian market.

The meetings will also focus on the technology and energy needs of households and the appliances that will allow them to transition away from gas heating and cooking.

Other meetings include senior Australian Government officials and the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

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The group will be away for five business days (17-21 April).

They will be in Seoul from 17-19 April, and Osaka and Nara from 20-21 April.

The spokesperson said the trip would cost about $25,000, which would be met from the ACT Executive 2022-23 budget. The final cost would be reported as part of the regular travel reports.

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HiddenDragon6:55 pm 18 Apr 23

Basically a Gangnam Style shopping trip.

Ideas on making money, and diversifying the ways in which we do that, should be top of the agenda. Successful models for implementing this would be a good starting point –


Capital Retro1:49 pm 18 Apr 23

Barr and his government remind of the The mouse That Roared.


Bob the impala4:04 pm 18 Apr 23

You mean the movie where the (figurative) mouse won?

You are on fire today, Capital Retro.

Capital Retro6:20 pm 18 Apr 23

More about the tiny country involved that was going broke, actually.

I can understand that young people haven’t been taught to think for themselves so you will automatically choose the outcome that fits the narrative that best fits your dogma.

Bob the impala8:43 pm 18 Apr 23

I have watched the movie, Capital Retro. Yes, the country was going broke but thanks to their imaginative and more than fortunate leader, they accidentally ‘defeated’ great powers and became leader of the T20, the Tiny Twenty. An amusing narrative.

The nub of it is that the mouse roared and won. Having picked a metaphor wholly contrary to your purpose, you are now floundering thanks to your dogmatism. It has been seen below in this topic’s comments section, as well as in others.

Personally I think it all pretty irrelevant, other than to watch you boxing at your own shadow.

GrumpyGrandpa12:34 pm 18 Apr 23

ACT is a tiny land-locked island bordered by NSW, and environmental changes it makes are symbolic, at best.

Don’t her me wrong. We do need to be conscious of our carbon footprint, but the Government’s focus is out of line with the basic needs of the community – health, comes to mind.

The Government is saying that Transport is now see as one of our largest threats to the environment. I’d argue that a substantial number of our buses have Euro 5 compliance standards, or better. Creating a better bus network and getting “backsides” on seats, is less expensive and better for the environment, than cars on the road, with one driver.

While the ACT is a small jurisdiction and the comparison not equivalent, from 31 March 2023, the Victoria Government has slashed the cost of regional public transport to encourage it’s people onto diesel powered buses and trains.
People from regional Victoria can travel anywhere in Victoria, on public transport, eg Wodonga to Melbourne for the cost of a City computer’s, daily ticket. IE less than $10.00. Potentially, a regional Victorian could go to Melbourne to see a Specialist and get home again, for less than $10.00.

That Government is actively encouraging people onto their diesel powered buses and trains, because it’s better for the environment, than having people driving their cars and causing congestion.

In my opinion, the Government should scrap LR to Woden and only consider LR options that are travel time efficient. Other services should continue to be covered by bus, maybe upgrading to Hydrogen as and when required. The savings made could then be redirected into services that we need, like health!

While our dear leader is in Korea to look into energy transitions, he could visit one of their 25 operational nuclear power reactors with a combined capacity of 24.5GW that supply 28% of their electricity generation. Specifically he could ask to visit the 1.4GW reactor Shin-Hanul-1 that commenced commercial generation late last year. Or he could visit one of their 3 power reactors under construction that will have a net capacity of 4GW. Intermittent wind and solar generators need support from consistent base-load nuclear generators.

“… he could visit one of their 25 operational nuclear power reactors …”

To what end? The ban on nuclear power in Australia was enacted by the Howard Government in 1998. Despite Barr’s ability to inflate his self importance, not even he has the power to override the Feds – in fact for both NT and ACT the exact opposite is the case. Furthermore, what chance of any such change, to ACT energy policy, getting through in a Labor-Green alliance government?

Capital Retro8:55 am 18 Apr 23

1998? How far back do you Howard haters dig? Are you trying to nail his forefathers with slave-trading too?

@Capital Retro
As usual, CR, I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

I’m just stating a fact that Federal legislation still exists (even though it was enacted in 1998!) and it would prevent the ACT government from enacting any laws to allow use of nuclear power – even, in the unlikely event, that they were so inclined.

PS Did Howard’s forefathers engage in slave trading?

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