‘Shocking betrayal’: Turnbull hits back

Malcolm Turnbull has spoken out about a ‘shocking betrayal’ after he was dumped from a key climate advisory role just a week into the job.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has hit back after he was sensationally dumped from his role as chair of an advisory body on climate change.

Speaking on breakfast television, Mr Turnbull accused NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro of wanting more coalmining in the Upper Hunter Valley, describing it as a “shocking betrayal of the people”.

“They (Mr Barilario, One Nation’s Mark Latham and the NSW government) want to keep ripping up that valley for open cut coalmines even though export demand for coal is declining, even though existing mines are operating below capacity, even though new mines and new extensions to existing mines will only put workers in current mines out of work,” he said.

He went on to argue that Muswellbrook had the worst air quality in NSW.

“John Barilaro and (Mark) Latham are saying the people in Muswellbrook are imagining it and manipulating the figures, so they are basically gaslighting the people of Muswellbrook, saying … ‘No, that’s not dust you are coughing and choking on’,” he told the Today show.

“The fact is Muswellbrook has the worst air quality in NSW. The reason it does is because it is surrounded by open-cut coalmines, and John Barilaro and his ally, Mark Latham, want to surround it with even more.”

Mr Barilaro revealed on Tuesday that Mr Turnbull had been stood down as chair of the NSW government’s Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, just a week after he was appointed to the role.

“(Mr Turnbull) pulled my pants down within 48 hours of his appointment on an area that I take seriously,” Mr Barilaro told 2GB.

“We are not proceeding with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as chair.”

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said in a statement the purpose of the board was to create jobs in low carbon industries and help the state reduce its emissions in ways that grow the economy.

He explained the board’s focus needed to be on facts, technology, science and economics and not on personality.

“Malcolm Turnbull has contributed much to our country and I know will contribute more into the future,” he said.

“However, no person’s role on the board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people or from the government’s work in delivering jobs and opportunities for the people of NSW.

“For this reason, I have decided not to proceed with his appointment as chair.”

Mr Barilaro accused Mr Turnbull of having a “damaged ego” and of being “at war with the Coalition” after the former prime minister backed a call for a moratorium on new coalmines in NSW.

Earlier, Mr Turnbull said the coalmine proposals and approvals in the state’s Upper Hunter Valley were “out of control”.

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