Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has been appointed to chair the NSW government’s Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board.
NSW energy minister Matt Kean made the appointment in recognition of both Turnbull’s historical business experience and ongoing engagement with the clean energy sector, both during and after his time as prime minister.
“It is a privilege to have Mr Turnbull leading the board. As a former Prime Minister, Commonwealth Environment Minister and head of Goldman Sachs Australia, Mr Turnbull is ideally placed to help NSW reduce its emissions in ways that grow the economy,” Kean said.
Turnbull said that he hopes to use the appointment to ensure that New South Wales seizes the economic opportunities being created within the clean energy space.
“The world’s move to net zero emissions by 2050 will create huge economic opportunities for Australia and I intend to make sure NSW realises them,” Turnbull said.
Turnbull’s time as prime minister was characterised by struggles with internal battles within his own party’s ranks. Turnbull oversaw the conception of the National Energy Guarantee, which was designed to create what was in effect an emissions intensity trading scheme – without ever naming it as such.
The National Energy Guarantee was ultimately killed off by threats of defection made by some within the Liberal-National coalition backbenchers – threats that destabilised his leadership and culminating in his replacement by current prime minister Scott Morrison.
Turnbull has since described his failures on climate policy as his ‘biggest leadership failure‘ during his time as prime minister.
However, Turnbull has also talked up his lasting contributions to national energy policy and the energy market, including his success in securing funding for the Snowy 2.0 expansion.
Kean said that the Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, to be chaired by Turnbull, will bring together a range of cross-sectorial expertise to advise the state government on the opportunities there to be seized upon through investment in clean energy and emissions reduction initiatives.
In particular, the board will provide advice to the NSW government on the design of the first state of the government’s Net Zero Plan, which the Berejiklian government has secured $1 billion towards its implementation.
“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,” Kean said.
“The Board will bring cross-sector experts together to ensure we have the right policies and initiatives to give industry the confidence they need to invest, innovate and build a low-carbon future – right here in NSW.
“The Board is also going to be key in delivering low-carbon jobs in the Hunter and Illawarra, to help those economies diversify,” Kean added.
Turnbull will be joined by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, who will serve as the Deputy Chair.
The remainder of the board is expected to be drawn from representatives from across the New South Wales energy sector, including representatives from the electricity, fuels and transport sections, as well as members with expertise in climate science, technology and the finance sector.
The Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board is set to complement a similar Renewable Energy Sector Board, appointed by Kean last month.