Hunter Coal Mine Barnaby Joyce
Hunter Coal Mine Barnaby Joyce

Nats demand $2bn NSW energy deal be ripped up

Furious Nationals MPs want the federal government to rip up its $2 billion energy deal with NSW after the state's Energy Minister Matt Kean failed to consult on his "radical" renewables roadmap.

Nationals Senator and former federal energy minister Matt Canavan told his Coalition party room colleagues on Tuesday morning he believed the energy deal should be scrapped.

The Daily Telegraph understands Mr Canavan, who was supported by New England MP Barnaby Joyce and Hughes MP Craig Kelly, said NSW had refused to co-operate with the federal government on energy.

Senator Matt Canavan (R) with Mandalong mine manager Richard Gelson after a tour of the underground mine in the Hunter. Picture: Toby Zerna
Senator Matt Canavan (R) with Mandalong mine manager Richard Gelson after a tour of the underground mine in the Hunter. Picture: Toby Zerna

He said the proof was in Mr Kean's failure to consult on his Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, an ambitious plan that includes establishing Renewable Energy Zones and delivery of more pumped hydro and battery storage.

Mr Canavan said the NSW Government's plan had "already undermined" the federal government's underwriting new generation infrastructure program, with Vales Point coal having pulled out and other gas projects mothballed.

Nationals MPs have set their sites on NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean. Picture: The Australian/Bianca De Marchi
Nationals MPs have set their sites on NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean. Picture: The Australian/Bianca De Marchi

He said given there was "no co-operation" between NSW and the Commonwealth, the federal government should "rip up" the $2bn energy deal signed in January and "drop" plans to build a gas fired power plant in the Hunter Valley.

Mr Canavan said instead the federal government should build a new coal fired power station in the Hunter, because it was the "best thermal coal basin the world".

"We could use our own powers to do that in defiance of the NSW government," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Gladys Berejiklian signed the NSW energy deal at the start of 2020, unlocking $960 million in federal funding and $1.01bn from the state to deliver a number of initiatives.

Federal MPs Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan and David Gillispie recently visited the Mandalong Coal Mine at Morriset. Picture: Toby Zerna
Federal MPs Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan and David Gillispie recently visited the Mandalong Coal Mine at Morriset. Picture: Toby Zerna

The deal included jointly underwriting the delivery of HumeLink and the Queensland-NSW interconnectors to strengthen grid reliability.

NSW committed to inject an additional 70 petajoules of gas per year into the east coast market, and remove barriers to coal supply to the Mount Piper Power Station.

Both governments would support the establishment of a pilot renewable energy zone in the Central West to help large-scale renewable generators pump electricity into the grid.

Originally published as Nats demand $2bn NSW energy deal be ripped up



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