Australian Economy

Treasurer Jim Chalmers lauds ‘compelling’ economics behind renewables as he rules out nuclear energy in Australia

As state and federal energy ministers gather, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has ruled out nuclear as a viable option for Australia – saying the “economics don’t stack up”.

Labor has ruled out nuclear energy as a source amid heightened debate on the topic, with Treasurer Jim Chalmers declaring the economics behind renewables were more compelling.

The Treasurer made the remarks during an address at Sky News Australia’s Economic Outlook forum in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon.

“The reason that I am not keen on nuclear energy for Australia is because the economics don’t stack up,” he said.

“Some of these cleaner and cheaper opportunities – the economics have become so compelling.”

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His comments come as state, territory and federal energy ministers meet on Wednesday afternoon.

On the agenda will be solutions to deal with the rising prices of gas and electricity brought on by a number of factors.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen also made similar claims in response to a tweet from Nationals leader David Littleproud.

“After nine years of energy policy chaos and rejection of the cheapest form of energy (renewables) the National Party thinks the answer to high prices is the most expensive form of energy… nuclear,” he wrote on Wednesday morning.

“It appears they didn’t get the memo from the electorate on May 21.”

Mr Littleproud has put the issue of nuclear energy firmly on the agenda in his new role as leader.

“I’ve written to the Prime Minister asking him to consider nuclear power as part of our energy mix,” he said on Twitter.

“Can we make it safe, affordable and reliable in Australia?

“We need to have this conversation and if opportunities exist—back ourselves.”

Shadow Minister for Climate and Energy Ted O’Brien has been a vocal supporter of nuclear energy, insisting it must be on the table for serious consideration.

“If we truly want to get real about reducing emissions but having affordable and reliable energy – we cannot afford to have that debate without nuclear on the table,” he told Sky News Australia on Tuesday night.

A domestic nuclear energy industry is banned in Australia following a moratorium set in place under the former Howard government in the 1990s.

New polling from the Institute of Public Affairs found that of 1,000 people surveyed, a majority supported building nuclear power plants in Australia.

The IPA’s Daniel Wild said Australians’ attitudes towards nuclear energy are “absolutely changing” with results showing around 53 per cent support the development of it in the nation, and only 23 per cent disagreed, while the rest were unsure.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has recently said he is “not afraid” to have a discussion on nuclear energy.

“If we want to have a legitimate emissions reduction, if we want to lower emissions reduction, that’s exactly the path President Macron has embarked on in France, it’s what prime minister Johnson is talking about in the United Kingdom,” he told the ABC.

“I don’t think we should be afraid to talk about any technology that’s going to have the ability to reduce emissions and electricity prices. That’s something we can consider in time.

“I don’t think we should rule things out simply because it’s unfashionable to talk about them.”

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