11 March 2019

John Barilaro: From coal lover to clean-energy convert?

Has NSW Nationals Leader and Monaro MP John Barilaro become a convert of renewable energy in the final weeks of the state election campaign after spruiking the virtues of coal and nuclear power for years?

Back in October 2017, he told The Australian newspaper “I hope the federal government — or even at a state level — someone builds a clean-coal power station and gives confidence to the sector that clean coal is palatable, that gas is palatable.” [1]

Just 11 months ago in April 2018, he told Sky News he supported a government-led takeover of Liddell coal-fired power station if its owner AGL wouldn’t extend its life. [2]

But at a candidates’ forum in his home electorate of Monaro on Monday night (March 11) he changed his tune.

“I do not believe there will be anyone that invests in a coal-fired power station today or in the future.

“No one will build a power station fuelled by coal.

“Is climate change real? Yes, it is. Is it impacted by man? Yes it is. And I think we’re living it more than ever, especially the party that I represent, the National Party in regional and rural NSW, where we are going through one of the toughest droughts that our farmers are feeling, and yet up north there’s been some of the worst floods.

“That’s why the National Energy Guarantee, which we support and we are in opposition to our own Liberals and Nationals federally, because that will give certainty for investment.”

 Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “It is great if Mr Barilaro’s has had a genuine conversion from coal lover to a coal sceptic, but why has he waited until two weeks before the election and a front-page story in the Sydney Morning Herald before coming out?

“The Coalition in NSW has had eight years to in power and still haven’t developed a credible plan to transition NSW from coal dependency to 100% clean energy.

“The NSW Government has done next to nothing to ensure clean energy is built in our state, and on the Coalition’s watch the fraction of our power coming from coal has increased to 83%.”

REFERENCES

[1] October 2017, The Australian - NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro lashes PM as being soft on energy

www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/nsw-deputy-premier-john-barilaro-lashes-pm-as-being-soft-on-energy/news-story/846a41c84f5461050d28644ca5ed1044

[2] April 2018, The Australian – John Barilaro supports  government acquisition of Liddell www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/john-barilaro-supports-government-acquisition-of-liddell/news-story/626ad78ecdef4ee6d509925830daf952

 

 

Monaro state election candidate forum

When: 7pm, Monday, March 11

Where: Queanbeyan Kangaroos Club, 74 Stuart Street, Crestwood

Host: Queanbeyan Ratepayers Association Candidates Forum

Video: Here

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13VGZ13vIO7gkuNYPbO-MJVQ8fNyAZZo-/view

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Question from the audience: Given that 86% of the Monaro electorate wants to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030, do you commit to prioritise government action to reduce human-induced global warming?

 

John Barilaro (NAT): So, quickly.  Net zero emission target by 2050. We’ve backed in Snowy Hydro 2.0. That’s another 1,000 megawatts. The reality is that actually we’ve got 21 other projects happening with Water NSW.

 

We’re looking at hydro and more battery storage that we believe will unlock a 7,000 additional megawatts.

 

Largest wind farm will be on the Liverpool Plains and the reality is this: coal-fired power stations, the consumer and the market will reject, as they come to hit the market.

 

I do not believe there will be anyone that invests in a coal-fired power station today or in the future.

 

So, there is an opportunity, and the market does drive it – the market does drive it.

 

Is climate change real? Yes, it is. Is it impacted by man? Yes, it is.

 

And I think we’re living it more than ever, especially the party that I represent, the National Party in regional and rural NSW, where we are going through one of the toughest droughts that our farmers are feeling, and yet up north there’s been some of the worst floods.

 

So, the reality is it’s real and consumers will lead the market.

 

That is why no one will build a power station fuelled by coal.

 

That’s why the National Energy Guarantee, which we support and we are in opposition to our own Liberals and Nationals federally, because that will give certainty for investment.

 

What we lack in Australia is certainty for investment and we’ve also announced that a battery storage solar panel interest-free loans system to get 300,000 with more solar –  or batteries for those who have solar – because the here now is batteries.

 

Ends/

 

 

Tags

Climate and energy

Let others know about this issue