Nationals make ‘ironclad guarantee’ on offshore wind while backing nuclear

Nationals leader David Littleproud has promised to stop offshore wind development off the Hunter coast if the Coalition regains power.

NATIONALS leader David Littleproud has given the people of Port Stephens an “ironclad guarantee” that his party would stop offshore wind development off the Hunter coast should they regain power alongside the Liberal Party at the Federal level.

Mr Littleproud visited Nelson Bay on Thursday 18 April to make the announcement, after heading offshore with local tourism operators.

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“The National Party will not be part of any coalition government that does not stop this project,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I make that ironclad guarantee.

“As Nationals we won’t support this and we will abolish this project.”

Mr Littleproud also took the opportunity to discuss the potential of nuclear energy as an alternative to renewables like offshore wind.

“I have come to Port Stephens to give the people of Port Stephens confidence that there is a better way to reduce our emissions.

“That is transitioning from coal to nuclear with gas and renewables in the right place.”

When asked by local media what he would say to people who were “scared by nuclear”, Mr Littleproud said to look to global examples.

“Look around the world,” he encouraged.

“We are one of only two G20 countries that doesn’t have nuclear energy.

“We are not talking about 1950s technology, we are talking about modern technology which is being used safely around the world.

“We’ve had a nuclear industry here for over 60 years, it’s called Lucas Heights.

“Less than one and a half kilometres from there are houses selling for $1.5 million.

“We are not saying they will be everywhere across the country but we will have a mix that will go into the grid that spreads our energy risks, that doesn’t put all our energy eggs into one basket and makes sure we can give that firming power to industries like Tomago.”

Following Mr Littleproud’s Nelson Bay visit, Nigel Waters from EcoNetwork Port Stephens said the Coalition’s energy policy “makes no sense”.

“(It) is incompatible with the objective of net zero emissions by 2050 which the Coalition claims to also support,” said Mr Waters.

“We are very disappointed that the Nationals and Liberals are not prepared to wait for the five or more years of detailed studies that would precede any final decision on offshore wind.

“Many local residents have genuine concerns about the possible environmental impacts of an offshore wind industry, but many of the claims being made by opponents are not based on any evidence, and amount to fear-mongering misinformation.”

EcoNetwork has put out ‘myth busting’ FAQs about offshore wind and takes the position that nuclear power is not a realistic or acceptable part of Australia’s energy future.

“We look forward to the next stage of investigations into the pros and cons of offshore wind that will commence later this year,” said Nigel Waters.

“We are arguing strongly for environmental assessments to be genuinely independent, funded jointly by the proponents who are awarded licences, but not under their control.

“This is something that both opponents and supporters of wind farms can agree on, and the Federal Government needs to arrange it in order to ensure the assessments have credibility,” he said.


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