The Australia Institute has called for close scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s gas-industry linked National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.
It follows news that Nev Power, handpicked Chair of NCCC, is not scheduled to appear for questioning by Senators at the oversight committee hearing on Wednesday. Senators’ questions will go instead to a public servant.
“There is widespread concern that NCCC is being used as a stalking horse to promote the gas industry in Australia,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.
“Such a move would be disastrous both economically and for Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution. It is time for the Commission to come clean and detail exactly what discussions it has had with the gas industry and what it is considering.”
“At a time of unprecedented challenges requiring enormous government action, Australia needs more oversight, not less.
“The rationale for a recovery planning body operating outside of normal democratic and public policy processes remains unclear.
“These concerns are only heightened when that body is being run by outspoken corporate executives with a clear agenda to increase the mining and burning of fossil fuels.
“Meanwhile, the Australia Institute welcomes that a range of organisations including the Grata Fund, Centre for Public Integrity, Transparency International, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Human Rights Law Centre and Amnesty International, are calling for proper scrutiny, transparency and integrity measures to be put in place in relation to the NCCC,” Mr Merzian said.
Nev Power is a gas industry director, and the head of the NCCC’s manufacturing taskforce is Andrew Liveris, former CEO and Chair of petro-chemicals company Dow Chemical and current director of the Saudi Aramco oil company. Both have called for more gas mining and consumption in Australia.
Nev Power found time to speak on a business webinar last week, when he said the NCCC was ignoring the challenge of climate change. This contrasts with widespread global calls for green stimulus from European nations, South Korea, the IEA and the IMF.