Labor announces support for Kurri Kurri power station, with hydrogen caveat

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (climate club)
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has announced Labor’s support of the Kurri Kurri power station, providing Snowy Hydro Limited can transition to green hydrogen by the end of the decade.

“Labor welcomes any investment in the Hunter, and is committed to affordable, reliable power,” Albanese said.

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“But Scott Morrison is risking taxpayers’ money on a gas plant that experts say will become stranded in an increasingly renewable energy system.”

He said Labor would work with Snowy Hydro Limited to ensure the power plant at Kurri Kurri could transition to green hydrogen by 2030, guaranteeing a role for the station and its workers as well as affordable and reliable power for decades to come. 

“Labor’s proposal is consistent with net zero emissions by 2050, as well as our commitment to 43 per cent emissions reductions by 2030.”

In response to Labor’s announcement, Gas Free Hunter Alliance co-coordinator Fiona Lee said, “While we welcome Labor’s commitment to renewables and providing future-focused jobs in the Hunter, the Gas Free Hunter Alliance believes not a single cent of public money should be spent subsidising a new fossil fuel project in Kurri Kurri. Any power station that burns more fossil fuels like gas is just worsening climate change.

“You don’t get to transition away from fossil fuels by spending more money on them. We want to see the $600 million or more of public money spent supporting and retraining workers, not a dirty gas plant that will need expensive upgrades in a few short years.” 

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Kurri Kurri local Lynn Benn said, “Locally, we desperately need long-term sustainable employment. The 10 to 20 ongoing jobs on offer at the Kurri Kurri gas plant are a drop in the ocean compared to the investment involved,” Benn said.

“People of the Hunter rely on fossil fuels and need retraining and support to rapidly transition away from these now insecure jobs. $600 million or more would be better spent on future-focused jobs.”

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