Former NSW energy minister to chair Climate Change Authority

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced former New South Wales (NSW) treasurer and energy minister Matt Kean will head the independent statutory body which advises the Australian government on climate change policy.

Albanese said Kean, who was the architect of the NSW electricity infrastructure roadmap which outlines the state’s plan to build 12 GW of clean energy and 2 GW of energy storage over the next decade, is “uniquely qualified” to lead the Climate Change Authority and understands “the opportunity that the transition to clean energy represents for our nation.”

“[He] not only understands the importance of strong action on climate, he also understands the complexities of the transition and the need to carefully design policies and focus on practical implementation to ensure real emissions reductions,” Albanese said.

“And he also understands the folly that walking away from the renewables transition.”

The decision to appoint Kean, who only resigned from NSW Parliament last week, puts him at odds with the federal Liberal Party which last week unveiled the first details of its nuclear power policy.

“I will let the Prime Minister answer questions regards to the politics but I will say this, as the incoming care of the Climate Change Authority, my job is to advise the government based on evidence,” Kean said.

“That includes engineering evidence, economic evidence and scientific evidence and that’s what I intend to do. We need to make decisions based on facts.”

Kean said the latest scientific engineering and economic advice from the CSIRO points to renewables as the cheapest way to transition Australia’s electricity system.

“They very clearly say that the cheapest way to transition our electricity system is to move towards renewables backed up by firming and storage,” he said.

“That is what the CSIRO says, that is the evidence available to us. I’m not aware of anything different.”

Kean takes over from Grant King, who has stepped down after more than three years in the role.

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