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Keep Hazelwood open, Abbott tells Turnbull

Tony Abbott wants Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stop the closure of the Hazelwood power station
Tony Abbott wants Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stop the closure of the Hazelwood power station

Tony Abbott has urged his successor Malcolm Turnbull to intervene and stop the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station.

The former prime minister says the last thing Australia should be doing is closing a utility that supports base load power.

“Keeping Hazelwood open would cap off a good week for the prime minister,” Mr Abbott wrotes in an opinion piece inthe Herald Sun on Friday.

Until cost effective and reliable alternative energy supplies such pumped hyrdo are assured, closing Hazelwood was an avoidable folly, Mr Abbott added.

“At least until Snowy 2.0 can produce 2000 megawatts of cost-effective and droughtproof hydro power, Hazelwood should stay open,” he wrote.

“That wouldn’t be bailing out a failing business. It would be securing the services that Australians need until market forces are once more driving the system.”

The Australian Industry Group agrees governments should remain open to keeping the station operating in some form.

“We appreciate that this would be a major and costly step,” chief executive Innes Willox said.

“We need urgent action, and all options should be on the table.”

The Australian reported on Friday that both Mr Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison had rejected suggestions the federal government support the station to remain open.

Mr Morrison is believed to have told cabinet it would not be viable.

The treasurer said there had never been a proposal for how federal taxpayers could avoid a remediation bill estimated at more than a billion dollars.

“The reason Hazelwood is closing is because of the mindless ideology of the Labor Party,” he told Sky News.

“They cheered on the closure of coal-fired power stations.”

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