The Kurri Kurri gas-fired power station has more than $600 million of taxpayers' money invested in it but the Federal Government isn't keen to share the fine details of the project's business case.
The Environmental Defenders Officer on behalf of Lock the Gate and the Gas Free Hunter Alliance separately sought documents under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act relating to the project's business case and risk assessments from the office of Energy Minister Angus Taylor, Treasury, and the Department of Industry, Energy, and Science.
They were advised that 62 documents were relevant to the applications. They included a briefing pack on the financial investment decision and a report on modelling assumptions.
Despite their relevance, the FOI decision maker found that none of the identified documents should be released because they were classified as cabinet and commercial in confidence.
The decision, which is under appeal, is typical of hundreds of cases where individuals have been denied access to state and Commonwealth government information in the past decade.
"The Morrison Government is hiding information about its heavily criticised so-called gas led recovery from the public, which to us indicates that the plan is not all it is cracked up to be," Lock the Gate spokeswoman Georgina Woods said.
"The Australian public and particularly the people of the Lower Hunter region who will be impacted by this polluting white elephant of a project have a right to know how their government is spending their money, and under what pretenses."
It argued the project will firm the equivalent of 160,000 household solar installations, thereby reducing emissions by about 87 per cent compared to coal fired energy.
"The robustness of the business case is due to the fact that the project earns revenue from multiple sources, which will increase competition in each of the National Energy Market's relevant market segments while playing a material role in safeguarding supply reliability in the National Energy Market," the business case says.
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