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Time to stop the scare campaigns over green future, says Forrest

Business

Emissions reduction targets of between 40 and 50 per cent are absolutely necessary for Australia, according to mining magnate Andrew Forrest.

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The former Fortescue chief executive also said it would be a “high profile” declaration of where Australia sits on climate change if Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not attend an upcoming Glasgow summit to address the issue.

Forrest on Wednesday outlined billion-dollar plans for green hydrogen production facilities across Australia, including in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania.

Ahead of a final decision on Australia’s net-zero emissions policy by the government, Forrest has hit out at MPs who have criticised such proposals as being detrimental to the economy.

“We need to stop the fearmongering,” he told ABC Radio National on Thursday.

“It might crack a few more votes at the next election, but after that it is seen as fearmongering, when coal starts to subside.”

Much of the criticism of net-zero plans have come from senior Nationals MPs, who have said attempts to reduce emissions would impact on regional areas and jobs.

The Nationals will hold a partyroom meeting on Sunday to discuss the plan, which went before federal cabinet on Wednesday.

Nationals Senate leader and cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie said there would be “no deal unless it is right for the regions”.

Forrest said he had spoken to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Senator McKenzie about the plans for green hydrogen facilities on Wednesday.

“I’m sure they are quite capable of hearing the facts,” he said.

“Economies are going green and they are going to grow the fastest and have the most jobs. If Australia doesn’t do it, that capital will go to countries that will.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he supported Mr Forrest’s plan for green hydrogen.

“When it comes to green hydrogen, there is enormous opportunity for growth in the regions,” he said.

“We have the farcical situation of Barnaby Joyce waiting for the Nationals to tell him what he can tell Scott Morrison what he’s allowed to say if he goes to Glasgow.”

Mr Forrest is set to address the National Press Club on Thursday.

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