Nuclear needs to be part of mix: Barilaro

Deputy Premier John Barilaro during Question Time. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Deputy Premier John Barilaro during Question Time. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Member for Monaro and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro claims political correctness is to blame for stifling nuclear energy as an option for helping power the country.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday, Mr Barilaro said “fear of media backlash” is crippling political leaders’ ability to have tough conversations and deal with big issues – such as energy security and affordability.

Mr Barilaro has previously called on governments to take a bold step and be prepared to discuss all solutions “without fear of political repercussions”. He has again stepped forward to raise the issue in light of recent debate over coal and gas.

“When it comes to addressing our energy crisis, we must be prepared to talk about nuclear energy,” he said.

“Naturally I expect a reaction when I discuss the nuclear energy option with people – but what’s genuinely surprised me is how positive that reaction has been.

“The truth is there hasn’t been a proper discussion in our community about nuclear for decades,” he said.

“This lack of discussion has resulted in a lack of community awareness of technological advancements.”

Mr Barilaro said the answer to Australia’s energy woes is getting the right balance with the mix including renewables, hydro, coal, gas and zero-emissions nuclear power.

”If Liddell can continue operating effectively and safely, then it must. Gas should also be a part of the mix, but not at the expense of our prime agricultural land.

“In the meantime, we should be investing in a new High Energy Low Emissions (HELE) coal fired plant in the Hunter region.

“Together with Snowy Hydro 2.0 and a pilot modular reactor in NSW, we would achieve an energy mix that would deliver improved security, increased supply, and in turn lower energy bills for households and businesses.

“Importantly this mix would create jobs in regional NSW. It would give confidence to industry. And importantly it would prove that a government can be agile and competitive when its people are crying out for action.”