The Nationals Candidate for Cessnock has thrown his support behind a proposal for a coal fired power station at Kurri Kurri.
Josh Angus said the plant, which Kaisun Holdings plans to develop in the Hunter Economic Zone, would be a boon for the town, with 2000 jobs set to be created.
“This town was built on coal, and for many years Kurri flourished because of coal,” Mr Angus said.
“If this project could bring the jobs and investment they’re talking about, then it’s definitely something we need to seriously look at.”
Mr Angus said there needed to be a broader discussion about coal and the future of the Hunter Valley, especially with workers at Liddell Power Station wondering where they’ll go when it closes in three years.
“We all know our coal is some of the most efficient, cleanest coal in the world, and it employs more than 20,000 people in the Hunter alone,” Mr Angus said.
“We should use this fantastic local resource to our advantage and generate cheaper, more reliable energy.
"Not only would this result in lower power bills and secure the state’s future power supply, it would have a direct positive impact here at home.”
But Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said what was "currently proposed is little more than a thought bubble".
"There are thousands of hurdles that any proponent would need to jump through before any possible approval would be granted," he said in a post on his Facebook page.
"The chosen site has a range of environmental issues associated with it and it is in close proximity to residents."
Mr Barr also disputed the claims it would lower energy prices and said any job increase would be a long while away.
"A new coal fired power station would generate power at $100+ per megawatt hour, while brand new renewables energy sites are currently producing electricity at $60 per megawatt hour and getting cheaper by the day," he said.
"Meanwhile, we can’t have people sitting around waiting for this project as their employment solution.
"The biggest challenge on the jobs front at this stage is keeping up with the ever-changing nature of work and the disappearance of traditional jobs as technology marches forward."