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O'Dowd gains momentum on pro-coal policy to tackle power dramas

Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd is seeking support for his new energy policy.
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd is seeking support for his new energy policy. Tegan Annett

DRIVEN by the power price pain felt by Gladstone's big business, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd wants his Government to tackle the energy crisis now.

Mr O'Dowd's new energy policy recommends coal investment, a reform to the National Electricity Market and less subsidies for renewable energy.

The Nationals member said he would meet with the Prime Minister, who has not visited Gladstone since the 2016 election, within the next three weeks to discuss his policy.

After being "in talks" with Malcolm Turnbull's office Mr O'Dowd said the Prime Minister's views on not supporting a technologically-advanced coal-fired power station were changing.

"I desperately want him to see (Gladstone's) industry and talk to the them to get a proper picture of what bad prices do for Gladstone and what good prices can do for Gladstone including more investment and stronger businesses," Mr O'Dowd said.

Mr O'Dowd said the situation in Gladstone, "Australia's energy capital of the world", was dire if action was not taken to lower power prices.

Gladstone Industry Leadership Group chief executive Patrick Hastings welcomed Mr O'Dowd's new policy, he said the Federal Government's needed to find a clear direction on the issue.

"All of those measures are great but first and foremost what we need to see is an energy and climate change policy that is bipartisan and strategic," he said.

"We need these policies in place for the market to have confidence in investing in Australia."

Mr O'Dowd said he could "lean on" Tony Abbott, "some backbenchers" and fellow National Party members like Matt Canavan to gain support for his policy.

Australia's four major banks also cop it in Mr O'Dowd's plan for "walking away" from coal.

Not concerned about the lack of bank investments, he said there were other investors who would financially support coal power if there is "clarity in the market".

Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd's Energy Policy Statement focuses on creating reliability, affordability, sustainability and job security.

Here are some of the key points:

Upgrade existing coal-fired power stations to secure long term jobs for the next generation of Australian energy workers.

Create reliable baseload power.

Renewables must invest in storage and consumers should stop subsidizing them.

Reform the outdated National Electricity Market.

If big banks won't support coal industry then we will look for other investors.

Tearing up gas contracts threatens our soverign risk.

State Governments are keeping their budget afloat using their electricity assets.

Lift NSW and Victoria gas bans.

Securing baseload supply prevents blackouts and jobs losses.

Energy pricing is already costing jobs, including those at Boyne Smelter Limited.



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