The federal government is backing a $100 billion investment target to expand the Australian coal industry as it blasts the “hypocrisy” of environmentalists who want to halt new mines, escalating a fight over attempts to mandate more solar and wind power.
Aiming to open up vast new deposits for export, the government is mobilising against warnings about the “end of coal” as it considers a $1bn loan for the Adani mine in central Queensland on the condition the cash will help further projects.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan told The Australian it would be hypocritical to stop coal production or exports on the grounds that developing nations should not use fossil fuels to drive their economic growth.
“We can’t deny people the same benefits that we accrue from permanent and reliable electricity — that would be immoral,” Senator Canavan said. “For the foreseeable future, coal will remain one of the core parts of the energy supply mix to provide people with electricity.”
Senator Canavan dismissed claims from Greenpeace and the Greens that demand for coal would shrink over the decades ahead, pointing instead to growing demand from Asia to justify opening up new mines in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland.
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