Peter Dutton has doubled down on the Liberals’ support for nuclear power ahead of a review of its energy policy, arguing that nuclear power will be needed to support renewables.
Dutton told the Minerals Council on Wednesday that Australia needed a “frank discussion” about nuclear power, suggesting it had a “great opportunity to add value” to its uranium resources.
These comments prompted a demand from the Prime Minister: Anthony Albanesethis is the time for liberals to highlight “where the plants will be”.
Dutton confirmed this on Wednesday he appointed Ted O’Brien as shadow energy secretary in part because of the committee investigation he chaired in 2019 recommended to partially cancel the moratorium on nuclear power to enable “new and emerging nuclear technologies.”
The Coalition It is still reviewing its energy policy to set an emissions reduction target before the next election and is studying nuclear power to build a “proper information base”, according to Dutton’s party room comments in August.
The Liberal leader said on Wednesday that “the imperative to create affordable, reliable, low-emission energy wherever possible requires us to at least have a conversation about nuclear power.”
“[About] How might this technology affect the energy mix in the future? I think, especially since one third of the world’s uranium deposits are located in Australia. We have a wonderful opportunity to increase the value of this resource.”
Dutton noted that former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke “was strongly in favor of nuclear power and could not get it through the left of his party”.
“John Howard to this day is very strongly in favor of nuclear power as an option … that right-wing lunatic in Canada, Justin Trudeau, embraces small modular reactors.”
Dutton asked the question, “If you don’t like coal and gas, if you don’t believe that clean hydrogen is about to become a reality, then what else is in favor of renewables? And I don’t know the answer to that question, except nuclear.”
Dutton suggested nuclear power could also help Australia “boost irrigation and open up thousands of square kilometers of export opportunities”, before concluding the government should “at least allow” the community to discuss it.
In August, shadow climate change minister Chris Bowen ruled out nuclear power, saying it was “by far the most expensive form of energy”.
“I mean, it’s the economic illiteracy of the opposition looking for relevance,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“[Nuclear] slowly unfolding. It cannot be rolled out in Australia until 2030.
“CSIRO has made it clear that renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy. Nuclear is the most expensive. Why with rising energy prices you would use the most expensive form of energy available is beyond me.’
Later on Wednesday, the Liberals hounded Albanese over his campaign claims that Labor’s energy policies, including more renewables and grid upgrades, could help households save $275 on their electricity bills.
Albanese responded that the government supported modeling that supported the claim, and that Labor’s policy was based on the Australian’s system plan Energy The market operator, which has determined that it will “encourage investment in renewable energy sources, which are the cheapest form of energy.”
Albanese said that after “22 failed plans”, the coalition now wants to “go to nuclear energy”.
“And they can tell, if you want, where the plants will be. I look forward to their review, letting us know… [because] we know they need to be close to urban areas and water.”
As Labor raised the specter of a campaign to sit the proposed nuclear power stations, Dutton accused the government of asking Australians to sign up for an Indigenous voice in parliament “invisibly”.
“We have no idea what this means for the mining sector,” Dutton previously told the Minerals Council.
“We do not know whether a voice that does not represent the elders with whom you negotiate or with whom you negotiate in a certain place can be usurped and [the voice will] use the veto right? It’s going to hurt your employees, it’s going to hurt your business.”
Dutton previously said it was an “inconvenient truth” for climate activists that “decarbonisation will require more mining” because of the importance of minerals for renewable energy, batteries and electric vehicles.
“It makes me feel good to know that it keeps them up at night.”
Dutton said the Liberals did not support “enshrinement” of the 43% emissions reduction target in legislation because the “inflexible position” could put Australia at a disadvantage if competitors fail to meet their targets, making it “difficult, if not impossible” for state institutions. to finance resource projects.