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’Not good enough’: Albo blasts nuclear policy

PRIME MINISTER GOSFORD
Mr Albanese said the idea ‘didn’t make sense’. Picture: NewsWire/Monique Harmer

Anthony Albanese has attacked the coalition for failing to reveal key details of its controversial nuclear energy policy, which now looks be delayed until the end of the year.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s reply to the federal budget last Thursday omitted key details of the signature energy policy, including the total costs and locations of the six nuclear power plants slated to replace a retiring fleet of coal-fired power stations.

Nationals leader David Littleproud on Sunday said it would not have been “appropriate” for Mr Dutton to outline the full costs in his budget reply speech, but confirmed the policy would “of course” be released before the end of 2024.

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“We have done extensive polling of the electorates, we’ll be looking at six or seven sites ... and they have been very supportive of a nuclear future,” Mr Littleproud told Sky Sunday Agenda.

PRIME MINISTER GOSFORD
Anthony Albanese said nuclear power plants would require big government subsidies. Picture: Monique Harmer/NewsWire.

Describing the opposition’s nuclear idea as “shocking policy” when asked at a press conference on the NSW Central Coast, the Prime Minister accused Mr Littleproud of intentionally hiding details from the public because the plan “didn’t stack up”.

“David Littleproud has said that they have done polling in the areas where the nuclear reactors are going to be built,” Mr Albanese said.

“So he clearly has full knowledge of where these reactors will be built, but he won’t tell Australians where it will be.

“Earlier this week, he said he’d look Australians in the eye and tell them where it would be, what it would cost, who would build them and who would finance them.

“Today, he’s saying, ‘We’ve got polling, but we’re not going to tell you’.

“It’s not good enough.”

BUDGET REPLY
Peter Dutton has delayed the release of the opposition’s proposed nuclear power policy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

The federal electorates of Gippsland in Victoria, Hunter in NSW, Maranoa – Mr Littleproud’s seat – and Flynn in Queensland, and O’Connor in Western Australia are the only electorates with coal plants scheduled to close down in the next two decades.

Electorates with closing coal plants are held almost entirely by Liberal and National MPs, with the exception of Hunter.

After it was widely reported that the Coalition would reveal its energy policy before the May budget, Mr Dutton said in April that he would hold off on making an announcement until details had been finalised.

He said the decision to delay the announcement was partly driven by two stabbing incidents that occurred in Sydney last month, including the Westfield Bondi Junction attack.

“We will make the announcement as soon as we believe it’s firstly ready to go, and secondly (when it’s) the most opportune time for people to hear that,” Mr Dutton told ABC’s Insiders at the time.