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'Out Of Touch': Senior Liberal Slams Morrison, Government Over Climate Policy

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has been a Liberal since he was 19, but he is not afraid to stand up to his own party in Canberra.

Harwin on Wednesday slammed the federal government's inaction on climate change, saying it is "a sign of how out of touch they are".

Federal, state and territory ministers met this week in Adelaide, for the COAG Energy Council.

“New South Wales is firmly of the view we need a circuit breaker, we need climate and energy policy working together," Harwin said.

“To get that happening, we need an emissions obligation and we are going to keep pursuing that.”

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin speaks to the media during a press conference in Adelaide on Wednesday. Energy ministers from across Australia met in Adelaide today to discuss lowering power prices. (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

Harwin’s call to do more to tackle climate change was supported by states, but blocked from progressing by federal energy minister Angus Taylor.

“We were completely ignored by Angus Taylor, every state was in unison,” said Anthony Lynham, Queensland’s state energy minister.

“The only consistent voice against climate change and against emissions reduction is the federal government.”

(Getty Images)

He said the states and territories -- of which three, including NSW, are ruled by Liberal governments -- are determined to act, even without federal support.

“The states will continue to wor together to address climate change, it is great to see all states are on the same page with this.”

Dr Lynham’s summary -- that “it wasn’t a very pleasant meeting" -- was in stark contrast to Taylor’s take on the gathering.

“We are delighted with the outcomes from the day, we achieved everything we wanted to from the COAG Energy Council," he said.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Resource Minister Matt Canavan speak to the media during a press conference in Adelaide (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

A retailer reliability obligation was agreed to, what he called “a crucial reform for every Australian.”

“What it means is retailers now are accountable to ensure there is enough supply in the market years ahead of time to keep prices down and keep the lights on," Taylor said.

The NSW Liberal government is fighting for re-election, and Thursday's move may be a sign of further clashes between state and federal Liberals.

"I’m disappointed that the Commonwealth used meeting procedure to try and frustrate a proper discussion on getting an emissions obligation today," Harwin said.

“I am really pleased that the South Australians have suggested another way of trying to make progress in February.”

“We can’t delay this any longer, we are sick of the energy wars in Canberra.”