Senator McKenzie denies being a climate change sceptic, despite promoting the benefits of coal last month

NO FOSSIL: A climate change rally was held in Bendigo on Saturday.
NO FOSSIL: A climate change rally was held in Bendigo on Saturday.

Senator Bridget McKenzie suggested she is not a climate change sceptic, weeks after promoting the benefits of fossil fuel-based energy.

At a National Party media conference on August 20, the Bendigo-based senator, when discussing the decision to put the National Energy Guarantee on hold, said: “I'm not afraid to say the ‘c word’ – coal, coal, coal. It is going to be one of those areas that we're going to invest in.”

She said the federal government’s energy experts had advised, in the short-term, coal would contribute 60 per cent of the nation’s energy until 2030.

On ABC’s Q&A on Monday night, Ms McKenzie said she was “not a climate change sceptic”.

“I don't think that there's anything wrong with actually being focused on what the Australian people want us to do which is to get their bills down,” she said.

Her comments follow a climate change rally in Bendigo on Saturday, where many individuals voiced their concern with the Senator’s promotion of fossil fuels.

Bendigo Sustainability Group Vice President Chris Corr said the attitudes of federal politicians did not reflect those in Bendigo.

"Locally there's an overwhelming support for renewable energy - its just unfortunate that we get mixed messages and misinformation due to the state of politics in this country,” he said, describing senator McKenzie’s coal comments as “particularly unhelpful”. 

“We need some stability, we need to know what the future holds for policy. The NEG was not a good piece of policy but at least it was going to provide some surety.

“Unfortunately what the federal government is doing is just destructive, and we're clearly not going to get anything better from the new leaders.”