Butler and Taylor butt heads over gas

Mark Butler
Mark Butler, Matt Jewell Photography via Facebook

After Labor’s climate and energy spokesperson Mark Butler blasted fellow Labor colleague Joel Fitzgibbon on supporting the taxpayer-funded underwriting of new gas infrastructure, Butler has affirmed that gas has no place in the Clean Energy Finance Council (CEFC), which has led to Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor hitting back.

Butler said that Labor established the CEFC and has consistently protected its integrity as a financing body of renewable energy, and will continue to do so.

“This is the clean energy financing body – not for new gas generation,” Butler said.

“We’ll safeguard the financial integrity of the CEFC, to ensure it retains strict safeguards which ensure it only invests in economically viable projects that continue to provide a return to taxpayers.

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“We’ll also block any attempts to turn the CEFC into a personal slush fund by giving new powers to scandal-ridden Minister, Angus Taylor, who has an ideological opposition to renewable energy, and thinks a good use for taxpayer money is expensive new coal-fired power stations.”

Angus Taylor clapped back at those fighting words.

“Today Mark Butler wrongly claimed that gas generation investments don’t meet the existing definition of a low-emissions technology contained in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012, among other false claims,” Taylor said.

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“Greg Combet, the Minister who oversaw the establishment of the CEFC, acknowledged in his second reading speech that conventional gas ‘may technically be eligible for funding as a low-emissions technology’.

“The CEFC can already invest in gas projects that meet the existing definition – and has done so. These include a conventional gas peaker and a waste coal mine gas generator, both funded under the former Labor government.

“Mark Butler also incorrectly claimed the Grid Reliability Fund would be subject to direction by shareholder Ministers.

“The CEFC will also be required to meet a target rate of return for the Grid Reliability Fund, as is the case for the existing $10 billion allocation.

“If Mark Butler had bothered to turn up to the departmental briefing he requested for Monday, 31 August, he would have known this.”