Nationals leader Michael McCormack and Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
Nationals leader Michael McCormack and Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

Nats double down on coal power

The "wonderful port city of Gladstone" featured in federal parliament this week when Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd directed a question to the leader of his party.

Mr O'Dowd asked Deputy PM Michael McCormack to outline the government's "consistent belief and policy approach" driving development in regional Australia.

In a week in which both major parties faced questions about the viability of a new coal fired power station, the response reaffirmed the Nationals stance on energy policy.

"(O'Dowd) understands that coal provides $62 billion worth of exports. He understands that it provides two-thirds of Australia's energy supplies. He understands that it provides 55,000 jobs. He understands the importance of the $4 million Collinsville feasibility study for that HELE plant," Mr McCormack said.

The Deputy Prime Minister used the question to target Labor over reports a group of the party's right faction had been meeting in Canberra's Otis restaurant.

"On the menu is ravioli egg yolk. No doubt the leader of that group, the Member for Hunter, had that...because today he's got egg all over his face," Mr McCormack said.

The Hunter Valley is coal country and MP Joel Fitzgibbon suffered a swing of almost 10 per cent in the 2019 election.

Gladstone's NRG Power Station, Queensland Alumina, Cement Australia, Orica Yarwun, the Northern Oil Refinery and Curtis Island were highlighted by Mr McCormack as providing jobs, hope and opportunity. He sighted the $100 million Gladstone port access road extension as an example of the government's commitment to CQ.