First State Super 'less focused on gas' than renewables

  • May 25, 2020
  • Age

The chief investment officer of one of the country's largest super funds has said it is unlikely the fund would invest in a new gas pipeline, after the chair of the federal government’s coronavirus commission promoted major public spending on new gas infrastructure.

It comes as Independent MP Zali Steggall told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald the federal government's COVID-19 advisory body is racked by conflicts of interest and has a major bias towards gas. She is calling for the commission to host public hearings that involve the private sector, including super funds and insurers.

"We don’t want another situation where it’s like a sports rort where you’re unravelling it after the fact,” she said. "My concern with the COVID commission is that it's all happening behind closed doors … It’s a mates environment, which is so wrong on so many levels.”

Zali Steggall says super can play a major role in Australia's transition to renewable energy. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Former Fortescue Metals chief Neville Power chairs the commission and has been promoting cheap gas as the way to reboot the economy, including a gas pipeline from Western Australia. Mr Power is a non-executive director of oil and gas explorer Strike Energy and holds $2.5 million in the company's shares that will be worth an additional $2.1 million if the share value rises to 35¢ from 20¢, ASX disclosures show.

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