Brawl erupts over Collinsville power station plan

ANY jobs coming from a proposed coal-fired power station will have the firm backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, as an escalating brawl over the controversial project and divisions over climate change caused a raucous day in politics that included mentions of unicorns and convoys led by Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Morrison refused to say if the Federal Government would use taxpayer dollars to indemnify the Collinsville coal power plant from carbon risk, estimated at $17 billion by Australian Industry Group, instead reiterating the Government's backing of coal jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, February, Tuesday 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, February, Tuesday 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The Commonwealth Government has tipped $4 million into a feasibility study for the Collinsville project, which has proved so divisive it has created rifts with the LNP and caused federal Labor politicians to contradict each other.

The "high energy low emissions" power plant proposal 250km south of Townsville has also sparked the ire of state MPs, with Katter's Australian Party MP Nick Dametto blasting Senator Matt Canavan's support for the idea as contemptible.

Herbert MP Phil Thompson confirmed he was a backer of the project.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, in line with Townsville's own MP Scott Stewart, said he would not support a new coal power station "full stop", telling the ABC; "You may as well ask me if I support unicorns."

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, February, Tuesday 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, February, Tuesday 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The view of Mr Albanese, who described the $4 million as hush money for climate change deniers, contradict those made by his deputy Richard Marles on Sunday, who said Labor wouldn't stand in the way if the project didn't need government investment.

Former resources minister Senator Canavan seized on the comments to highlight Labor's continued problems answering questions about the future of coal. "Unicorns sounds like a good description of a Labor voter in a North Queensland mining town, they're imaginary," he said.

The rogue Senator also took serve at Malcolm Turnbull, telling the former PM to come to "evil" North Queensland leading an anti-coal caravan after Mr Turnbull on Monday said anyone advocating for the government to fund a new coal-fired power station at Collinsville was pushing for "higher emissions and higher energy prices and that's nuts".