Hartsuyker 'not a part of Monash Forum'
COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker has denied being part of a ginger group within the Government called the Monash Forum.
"I'm not a part of the Monash Forum," Mr Hartsuyker said when asked if he was part of a Coalition backbench group in Canberra of approximately 20 members which is adding pressure for the government support for new or refurbished coal-fired power stations.
"I can't confirm how many members are a part of the forum," he added.
Confirmed members of the group include former prime minister Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews and Craig Kelly as well as Nationals MPs George Christensen and Barnaby Joyce.
Part of a two page document asking for support of the Monash Forum states that "there may be other good sites for new, expanded or refurbished coal-fired power stations".
Mr Hartsuyker said there's virtually no chance of any new coal-fired stations being opened within his electorate.
"There are no coal reserves to my knowledge in the boundaries of Cowper," he said.
Mr Hartsuyker does support the use of coal to help meet Australia's energy needs saying that he's concerned about ensuring people have relaible and affordable power.
"With regards to the Monash Forum, coal is going to be part of our energy mix by every measure up until around 2050," he said.
"Coal is still a very significant part of the energy mix.
"There's no technology to replace the amount of baseload that coal can give in the short to medium term. So there will be a place for coal."
Early reports suggest that part of the Monash Forum's policy push is to explore spending taxpayer money to fund coal-fired power stations.
Without knowing the details of the policy Mr Hartsuyker said it's not something that should be either ruled in or out until further facts and plans are produced.
"I'm in support of affordable, reliable power and if that is an option that can help deliver that then it's something that is certainly worth considering," he said.
"The Government has given a commitment to Snowy 2.0 and hydro is a renewable way of delivering baseload as opposed to wind and solar which can't deliver baseload power on demand. They can only deliver when the conditions are right, either the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.
"People want to turn the lights or they want to turn the heater on when they want it, not necessarily when the sun is shining and not necessarily when the wind is blowing.
"Hydro is a great source of baseload, as is gas, as is coal."