In September 2020, then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the proposed development of a new gas generator in Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley should "the market not deliver what consumers need."
The intended land for this new gas plant was owned by Jeff McCloy, a property developer who had gifted tens of thousands of dollars of illegal donations in brown paper bags to the New South Wales Liberal Party. The proposed plant was earmarked for $600 million.
The McCloy Gas Plant proposal was criticised from several angles. Labor Minister and then- Shadow Climate Change Minister, Chris Bowen, asked to see the business case of the project and questioned the plants level of subsidisation:
“Just last week, Energy Australia committed to a new gas-hydrogen plant with just $5m of commonwealth support. If the Kurri Kurri proposal stacks up, why does it need 120 times more federal subsidy?”
Questions had also been raised during senate estimates regarding Jeff McCloy's interest in the Snow Hydro project. Officials from the federal Department of l Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources were asked by then-Labor senator Jenny McAllister whether they were “aware that the prospective owner of [the Kurri Kurri] site was a major Liberal party donor”.
David Fredericks, secretary of the department, stated that he was unaware of this. Ms. McAllister then asked if the department was aware that "Mr. McCloy was found by NSW ICAC to have made illegal donations to Liberal party politicians?” Mr. Fredericks replied that he was also not aware of this.