Coalition looks to ease tensions on coal-fired power
AS MEMBER for Flynn Ken O'Dowd accompanied Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during his trip to Rockhampton yesterday morning, he acknowledged he had not yet raised the idea of a new coal-fired power station in Gladstone.
The Gladstone-based MP revealed on Tuesday that he was part of a group of pro-coal Coalition backbenchers, known as the Monash Forum, seeking to test the Prime Minister's commitment to the "technology-neutral" National Energy Guarantee policy and push for the construction of new coal-fired power stations.
"I haven't (raised the issue) today, but I know the Prime Minister, as he's stated, is in favour of coal-fired power stations," he said.
"I haven't had time to press my case, but my job in the Monash Group is to bring prices down, nothing else to be read into it about bringing the Prime Minister down, that's certainly not the case."
Mr O'Dowd said he wanted the Australian Energy Regulator to "be aware of the fact that we don't want to see coal-fired power stations dropping off the cliff" and he would bring up the issue with the Prime Minister later yesterday afternoon.
New Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Coalition was in favour of coal being used for energy production, but reinforced the point the Government would always "let the market decide".
"We've also got a National Energy Guarantee which every Coalition member has agreed to," he said.
"We are a very broad church in the coalition and people have robust ideas and aren't frightened to express them. That's not such a bad thing."
Meanwhile, Resources Minister Matt Canavan said he did not believe the coal industry needed government subsidies to compete with renewables.