Gatecrash! SA Premier hijacks Fed Minister's presser

JAY Weatherill unleashed an almighty attack on Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg after "gatecrashing" the launch of a renewable energy project in Adelaide.

In a rare scene of public anger Mr Weatherill said to Mr Frydenberg: "It is a disgrace the way in which your Government has treated our state".

Mr Frydenberg hit back suggesting that SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis would be the Premier following Mr Weatherill's "unbecoming and childish and pretty unacceptable" behaviour.

The pair came to blows at a live press conference this morning at the launch of AGL virtual power plant which links homes and businesses to create shared battery storage.

Mr Frydenberg accused Mr Weatherill of gatecrashing the event, after the Premier was added to the official list of speakers at 7am.


There was clearly no love lost after months of heated argument between the two governments over SA's uptake of renewable energy, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has labelled a "failed experiment".

"I have to say it is a little galling to be standing here next to a man (Mr Frydenberg) who has been standing up with his Prime Minister bagging SA at every step of the way over the last six months," Mr Weatherill said.

"It is the most anti-SA Government we have seen from a Commonwealth Government in living memory.

"For you (Mr Frydenberg) to be standing here, sitting next to us trying to take credit for some small scheme which goes nowhere near fixing the size and the extent of the problems that have been created in this State, it is an outrage."

Mr Weatherill then took aim at the Coalition's announcement this morning that it would expand the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

"Let's just think about this $2 billion investment. It is going to be in four to seven years' time," Mr Weatherill said of the plan.

"It will probably only just pick up the natural growth in demand that will occur over that period of time. It barely will pick up the loss of power generation in relation to Hazelwood.

"We know what Mr Frydenberg really thinks and that is that he believes in an emissions intensity scheme. That is why he went out and publicly advocated for it.

"He must have been a source for humiliation for him to be cut down by his Prime Minister within hours of publicly supporting that scheme."

Mr Frydenberg appeared uncomfortable during Mr Weatherill's pointed attack which went for several minutes.

When Mr Frydenberg was finally able to speak - after Mr Weatherill stopped a journalist allowing the Federal Minister to have his say with "I haven't finished" - he stuck to the Coalition lines that SA Government's $550 million plan was simply fixing a problem of their own ideologically-driven design.

"I feel that the Premier is trying to come into this to crash tackle us at this announcement where he hasn't put any money into this important initiative, which the Commonwealth and AGL have, just shows you, unfortunately, how desperate he is," he said.

"My comments to the SA Government - and by the way they didn't give the Commonwealth any heads up over their announcement - so you would have thought if the SA Government was intent on producing the best outcomes for their constituents, they would work with the Federal Government but there was no pre-warning of those particular announcements."

After the press conference, Mr Weatherill said that the Snowy Hydro announcement - to be formally revealed by Malolm Turnbull today - was a $2 billion "insult" to South Australia to "keep the lights on" in Sydney and was an announcement "done on the run".

"We know we have been let down by a Federal Government that's anti-South Australia," he said.

Mr Weatherill was not on the media alert about today's AGL announcement

After the press conference, Mr Frydenberg said he hoped the Federal Government would be able to work with SA.

"Maybe Tom (Koutsantonis) will be the next Premier of SA because I think after Jay Weatherill's conduct today, the public would think that is pretty unbecoming and childish and pretty unacceptable for a senior political figure of their State to behave," he said.

News Corp Australia

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