Liberal MP Craig Kelly to visit Cessnock for talk on future of coal

Craig Kelly MP

Craig Kelly MP

Federal MP Craig Kelly will be the guest speaker at a Cessnock Liberal Party branch event on Tuesday, October 1.

The member for the southern Sydney seat of Hughes, Mr Kelly - who is also the convener of the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Coal Exports - will speak about the future for coal in the world economy.

The event, at Vincent Street Kitchen and Bar, will be a fundraiser for the Cessnock Liberals' 2020 local government election campaign.

One of the government's leading climate skeptics, Mr Kelly has called for the ACCC to intervene and prevent AGL from closing the Liddell coal-fired power station, and has advocated for the prohibition of nuclear power in Australia to be lifted.

"Craig is a vocal supporter of coal. He will be advocating for a medium- to long-term plan for energy supply that relies on coal as its core," local Liberal Party branch member Bryce Gibson said.

"Any medium- to long-term plan for energy must embrace our reliance on coal today to then transition away from it over the long term, allowing the free market and technology to guide the way, allowing for natural job transition."

Cessnock Liberal councillor Paul Dunn said he believes the conservative side of politics is now more "the party of the miner" than the Labor Party currently is.

Local Labor MPs Joel Fitzgibbon (Hunter) and Meryl Swanson (Paterson) have joined the Parliamentary Friends of Australian Coal Exports, a bipartisan group that was founded by Mr Kelly in July.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he was "bemused" at the Liberal Party's decision to invite Mr Kelly to speak in Cessnock.

"Craig Kelly's form is well known. He won't be in Cessnock to help; he'll be here to divide," he said.