May 19, 2021

Gas power station funding burning public money 

19 May 2021: the Morrison Government spending $600 million in public money on a gas power plant is burning funds while the rest of the world moves away from fossil fuels according to 350 Australia.

Reports today indicated that Minister Angus Taylor will give Snowy Hydro $600 million to spend on a new gas fired power station at Kurri Kurri in NSW.

350 Australia Senior Campaigner Shani Tager said: “The Government is pushing ahead with an absurd plan to build a new gas power plant, wasting our money on damaging fossil fuels which don’t have a future.

“This is an expensive, polluting gas power station that no-one wants a bar of. But Angus Taylor has stacked the board of Snowy Hydro with coal and gas executives and together they’re pushing ahead with this plan that has more holes than Swiss cheese.

“The International Energy Agency has just said there’s no role for new gas projects on the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050. The head of the Government’s Energy Security Board says it doesn’t stack up.

Questions were asked in Senate Estimates about how Snowy Hydro and the Federal Government selected the site for the proposed Kurri Kurri gas-fired power station which is set to be owned by the McCloy Group and the Stevens Group. The McCloy Group Chairman is Jeff McCloy who gave evidence to ICAC that he gave “tens of thousands” in secret donations to liberal party candidates and described himself as a “walking ATM.”

“This is another case of the Government putting people with vested interests in the fossil fuel industry in charge of big decisions about our energy future. The impact will be higher pollution and an acceleration of the climate crisis.

“Snowy Hydro is building a new gas power station less than an hour’s drive from where their existing gas plant languishes, using less than 1% of its total capacity.

“Fossil fuel infrastructure like gas power plants is the last thing we need at the moment given its climate impacts and when you add on these integrity concerns it’s clear that this would be a terrible use of public money.

“Instead of burning money on dirty gas, the government should be supporting local communities and investing in renewable energy projects.

Contact – Shani Tager, 0432 050 809


Snowy Hydro Directors 

Energy Minister Angus Taylor and previous Finance Minister Matthias Cormann appointed a number of directors to the Snowy Hydro board after the Commonwealth took full ownership of the company in 2019. The majority of the nine directors have close ties to the oil and gas industry, many of them worked for gas companies for large parts of their careers while others worked for key blockers of climate action.

David Knox, chair

  • Appointed 1 January 2020 by Matthias Cormann and Angus Taylor

  • Santos CEO from July 2008 to 2016.

  • Former chairman of lobby group the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA)

Karen Moses 

  • Appointed 1 July 2019 by Matthias Cormann and Angus Taylor

  • Executive director, Finance and Strategy at Origin Energy, 1994-2016

  • Gas development at Exxon, 1984-1995

  • BP Petroleum Products and Coal Development, 1980-1984

  • Current Orica director.

Scott Mitchell 

  • Appointed 26 March 2019 by Matthias Cormann and Angus Taylor

  • ex adviser to Nationals MP Mark Vaile, opponent of climate action

  • Ex Director of the National Party

Joycelyn Morton

  • Appointed August 2012

  • Current director of oil and gas company Beach Energy

Paul Broad, managing director 

  • ex CEO of Energy Australia

Anthony (Tony) Shepherd 

  • Appointed 17 August 2020 by Matthias Cormann and Angus Taylor

  • ex president of the Business Council of Australia, one of biggest opponents of climate policy in the last 20 years

Richard Sheppard 

  • Appointed in May 2015

  • ex Chair coal company Eraring Energy

Leeane Bond 

  • Appointed November 2015

  • ex Tarong Energy, Worley Parsons

Sandra Dodds 

  • Appointed 1 July 2019

  • ex Downer, service provider to the fossil fuel industry.

Snowy Hydro’s Existing Gas Generation utilisation rates for 2020-2021 analysis of generation data from the National Electricity Market and nameplate capacity from Snowy Hydro shows that their existing gas fired power station in NSW is barely used.

The Colongra Gas Power Station in NSW is located between Sydney and Newcastle, an hours drive from the site of the proposed Kurri Kurri power station. According to the most recent data, in the twelve months to April 2021 it ran at just 0.7% of its full capacity for the year.



Nameplate Capacity (MW)*

Electricity production May 2020 to April 2021 (MWh)

Utilization rate (%)

Colongra Power Station





In the 2019-20 financial year, the utilization rate was 0.6% of full capacity and in 2018-19 it was 0.5%.