Labor's bid to block Australia's renewables agency from funding carbon capture and storage and "clean" hydrogen projects will be debated in parliament this week, as the two major parties attempt to expose their opponents' internal divisions over energy policy.
The opposition and the Greens want to have scrapped new regulations which have expanded the remit of ARENA, allowing it to fund the types of "low emissions" technologies favoured by the Morrison government.
Labor's Chris Bowen last month described the changes as a "cynical attempt" to use the agency to fund non-renewables, before tabling a motion in parliament to formally torpedo the new regulations.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor will this week bring forward parliamentary debate on the motion, in a move designed in part to draw attention to the internal tensions within Labor on climate and energy policy which have flared in recent weeks.
Backbenchers Joel Fitzgibbon and Meryl Swanson last month broke ranks and backed construction of a new $600 million gas-fired power station in the Hunter region, while Victorian MPs Ged Kearney and Libby Cocker opposed the party's support for opening up the Beetaloo Basin gas fields in the NT during a private caucus meeting.
"Labor's move to block these changes [to ARENA] demonstrates the lengths they will go to cosy up to green activists rather than adopt a practical, responsible approach to reducing emissions," Mr Taylor said ahead of the debate.
"Labor's disallowance motion threatens the $192 million of additional funding for ARENA, and the 1400 jobs these programs will create."
Mr Bowen has previously tried to use motion to drive a wedge between the Coalition, arguing the "lite-Green" Liberals who supported climate action would need to explain to their constituents why they opposed Labor's position.
On Monday he accused the Morrison government of "once again trying to undermine ARENA".
"Because of an inability to pass energy legislation amid internal divisions, they are trying to circumvent the parliament by making major changes via regulations," Mr Bowen said.
"Australians deserve a government that cares about and invests in energy workers' futures, not one that treats the public purse like a political slush fund."
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