23 May 2020
Reports that Strike Energy has decided to have Deputy Chairman Nev Power ‘step back’ from Board meetings due to perceived conflicts of interest demonstrates the Chair of the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission (the NCCC) should appear before the Senate Select Committee on Covid-19, according to 350 Australia.
“If the perceived conflict of interest is too great for a gas company, surely it should be too much for the federal Government,“ said Lucy Manne, CEO of 350 Australia.
“This is too little too late, and if the community is to have any faith in the Morrison Government’s approach to the economic recovery, the Prime Minister must ensure Mr Power appears before the Senate Select Committee to answer important questions about the NCCC.
“The NCCC remains an opaque body containing a number of commissioners with significant links to the gas industry.
“Mr Power has so far avoided scrutiny from the Senate Select Committee on Covid-19, and it is critical that we hear answers to how the NCCC is going to respond to community concern regarding the potential conflicts of interest within the NCCC, which extend far beyond Nev Power’s role.
“Other members of the Covid Commission include the Managing Director of a company which owns gas fired power stations, a Board Director of the largest gas pipeline company in the country, and a Board Director of one of the world’s largest oil companies.”
As recently as last week, Mr Power was reported to be advocating for a gas pipeline from West-East Australia, and for new gas reserves to be developed, such as the Narrabri gas project. Mr Power also holds significant shares in Strike Energy according to ASX reports.
350 Australia’s “Fossil Fuel Watch” project examines the NCCC and its associated bodies, and links to the fossil fuel industry. It also details concessions being sought by the fossil fuel industry during the Covid-19 crisis in the form of financial support, changes to environmental regulation and project-level support.
The Senate Select Committee into Covid-19 is taking submissions until May 28th, with a final report due in June 2022. Information is available at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/COVID-19
For further information and interviews:
CEO, 350.org Australia
0417 387 516