Resource Minister Keith Pitt has slammed down suggestions that convincing the Nationals party to agree to net zero will require a hefty payout from the government.
Earlier this month, Mr Pitt told the Australian Financial Review that a $250bn loan and insurance facility may be required to get the Nationals on board with the 2050 emissions target.
“No matter what happens, we need to find a way to fund the resources sector and provide insurance,” Mr Pitt told the AFR.
“If we want to look after 300,000 jobs, provide power to 70 per cent of homes, the Australian government will have to become the lender of last resort.”
But the Resource Minister furiously rejected suggestions that the Nationals’ support for Net Zero would come with a $250 billion price tag when confronted about his past comments in Question Time on Thursday.
“I absolutely reject that. I did not say at any stage there is a price,” he said.
“We are having a collegiate discussion with our colleagues, we are having a collegiate discussion in the Nationals party room.”
But Mr Pitt has not been the only Nationals member to indicate that the party’s support for net zero may come with a price tag.
“Money makes the world go around, mate,” Agriculture Minister and Deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud told the ABC when questioned about his party agreeing to the climate target.
“We don’t want to ask for billions of dollars, that is not responsible.
“We think we can achieve it by being smarter than that and using the mechanisms that are already there rather than going for a cash grab.”
The Coalition has been in hot debate over the net zero target for weeks now, with the Nationals already rejecting a 2030 zero emissions deadline.
Barnaby Joyce is expected to announce the National’s final position on a net zero target of 2050 sometime on Thursday evening.