Anthony Albanese accused of ‘humiliating’ backflip on Kurri Kurri gas-fired plant
A decision to back a government-funded power plant has been labelled a “humiliating backdown” for Labor leader Anthony Albanese.
Mr Albanese on Tuesday travelled to the NSW Hunter Valley to unveil his plan to support a new $600m gas-fired power station in Kurri Kurri – a proposal he previously said didn’t stack up.
However, facing voter pressure in key regional seats, Labor is now backing the project but only if it is run on green hydrogen fuel by 2030.
Mr Albanese insists his new-found support for the project is not a backflip.
“What we said was it was a flawed project, and the government’s proposal is a flawed project,” the Labor leader told reporters.
“What we need to do is make it a project that provides sustainable jobs and that provides job security and energy security.”
Under Labor’s plan, Snowy Hydro Limited will run the plant on 30 per cent green hydrogen, increasing to 100 per cent by 2030.
The government proposal caused an internal rift within Labor, with local MPs arguing the plant was needed to safeguard jobs and lower prices.
The project is a key component of the Morrison government’s plan to transition the economy towards clean energy.
But Energy Minister Angus Taylor has branded Labor’s policy switch as just another example of “postcode politics”.
“Embarrassingly, Anthony Albanese has now been forced into accepting the Morrison government’s position that this project stacks up,” he said.
“Labor will say one thing in Kurri Kurri and another in Kooyong. You can’t do postcode policy on hydrogen. They need to clarify where they will source the hydrogen from and how much it will cost.
“They need to be honest with Australians about what impact this will have on power prices and customer bills.”