Angus Taylor is “a bit surprised” Malcolm Turnbull took a role with the NSW government, and says he will not be working directly with his former boss.
The former prime minister has been appointed chair of the NSW Net-Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, after being recommended by NSW Energy Minister Michael Kean.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor conceded he was “a bit surprised” to learn of Mr Turnbull’s new role, but said he would continue to work with the NSW government – although that wouldn’t be directly with Mr Turnbull.
“Look, I was a bit surprised that Malcolm took on this role, a former prime minister,” he told 2GB Radio on Tuesday.
“But we’ll work with the NSW government to do the work we really need to get more gas into the market.”
Mr Turnbull has been an outspoken critic of his successor’s climate stance, urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050.
The federal and NSW energy ministers have clashed in the past, and Mr Taylor was pressed on whether Mr Turnbull’s appointment would put the federal government “in a bit of a jam”.
“I won’t be working with Malcolm Turnbull, it was an appointment by the NSW government,” he replied.
“What I’ll be doing is working with the NSW government to make sure they keep their commitments on gas, on keeping enough energy in the system to put downward pressure on prices.”
Announcing the appointment on Monday, Mr Kean said Mr Turnbull was “ideally placed” to help the state reduce emissions while growing its economy
“The board will help us to drive a clean industrial revolution for NSW — providing advice on opportunities to grow the economy, create jobs of the future, support industry to develop low emissions technologies and modernise industrial processes,” Mr Kean said.
The appointment comes after Mr Turnbull in February teamed up with Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest to head a clean-energy drive at iron ore giant Fortescue Metals.