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“Our economic plan is about affordable and reliable energy,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said when announcing a $70 million funding commitment for a hydrogen hub in Launceston, Tasmania.

Morrison made the announcement after touring a local tech factory in Bass, the Liberal Party’s most fringe electorate, held by MP Bridget Archer by a 0.4 percent margin.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits CPT Engineering at Bass headquarters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits CPT Engineering at Bass headquarters.Credit:James Brickwood

The prime minister has focused on renewable energy for the past two days as he works to clean up the political damage of coalition divisions on climate action.

Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who earlier this week declared the coalition’s goal by 2050 to be “everywhere”, defended his departure from the party line on Friday.

“I have informed all my colleagues that I will continue to oppose this policy, as is our practice in our banquet halls,” he told Sky News.

“We let people express their own opinion and I think it’s good for the country and helps restore confidence in politics.”

Liberal MPs in seats threatened by teal independents or at risk of falling for Labor are fighting to limit the damage from Canavan’s comments, which saw Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman of Northern Sydney distancing himself from the Nationals meeting on Thursday night. a community forum were divided.

On Friday, Zimmerman said Canavan’s positions “came as no surprise” but that the coalition had “a firm and absolute commitment to reaching net zero by 2050”.

“That’s something I strongly advocated last year and I was very happy that we were able to deliver on that,” he said.

“It will be the policy of the government if we are re-elected. And we have the plan to get there… It’s a firm commitment from the government and it’s backed up by the investment we’re making in new technology.”

Zimmerman said the government plans to invest $20 billion in renewable energy over a decade, including “things like the hydrogen hubs the Prime Minister has announced.”

On Thursday, Morrison announced plans to invest up to $41 million each in two hydrogen projects in the Hunter region.

The coalition says clean hydrogen exports could directly support 16,000 jobs by 2050 and generate more than $50 billion in additional GDP.

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