New coal-fire power 'hypothetical' says PM

PM Scott Morrison hoses down Nat calls for new coal-fired power statiion.
PM Scott Morrison hoses down Nat calls for new coal-fired power statiion.

A new taxpayer-funded, coal-fired project is a "hypothetical debate", Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

His comments come as former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has demanded the Morrison government bankroll a new coal-fired power station ahead of the next election.

Mr Joyce's clarion call is squarely aimed at six Queensland Nationals who are demanding the federal government fund a coal-fired station in their state.

The rebels also want the government's "big stick" energy bill put to a vote during budget week, despite the divestiture plan looking likely to lose.

But Mr Morrison says the Queensland state government has no intention of approving such a project, leaving the issue as a "hypothetical debate".

"Governments have to focus on what they will actually do and can actually deliver and that's what I'm focused on, not in hypothetical debates," he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"What actually can happen is the investments that we're making in renewable projects and reliable projects."

This included Snowy 2.0 - which the government will chip $1.38 billion towards - as well as the Marinus Link project in Tasmania, he added.

Mr Pitt - one of the six Queensland Nationals who are sparking up about energy - insists he is not wedded to coal, but finds his government's policy hard to articulate.

The Nationals MP wants to take something "tangible" to the next election.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says the market will prevent further coal-fired power stations from being built and it's not a plan for the future.

Mr Shorten admits coal will be part of Australia's energy mix, but with more renewables in the system.

"What I am not going to do is tell people you don't need to change," he told reporters in Yatala, on the outskirts of the Gold Coast.

"Just pretending that we can do business as usual, pretending that they are going to build a whole paddock full of new coal-fired power stations, which are very expensive, it is just ridiculous.

"It is not actually offering a plan for the future. It is offering a photo of the past."

Australian Associated Press