NSW government reverses Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment to net zero emissions board

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday April 6, 2021

Malcolm Turnbull (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

The New South Wales government has reversed its decision to appoint former prime minister Malcom Turnbull as head of its new Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board.

Turnbull was named chair of the board last week, but on Tuesday morning, energy minister Matt Kean revealed that was no longer the case.

“The purpose of the Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board is to create jobs in low carbon industries and see the state reduce its emissions in ways that grow the economy,” he said in a statement.

“It is important that the focus is on achieving these outcomes, based on facts, technology, science, and economics. The focus should not be on personality.”

Kean said that despite Malcolm Turnbull’s contributions, “no person’s role on the board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people”.

“For this reason, I have decided not to proceed with his appointment as chair,” he said.

“I want to thank Mr Turnbull for his willingness to serve and look forward to his continued contribution to public life.”

The reversal has come after deputy premier John Barilaro criticised Malcolm Turnbull for calling for a moratorium on coal mining.

NSW chief scientist and engineer professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, who has been named deputy chair of the board, will take on the role of acting chair until a replacement is appointed.

The board has been tasked with advising the NSW government on program design and funding proposals under the first stage of its plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and with helping the state government give industry the confidence to “invest, innovate and build a low-carbon future”.

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