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Matt Canavan: The night watchman for coal

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Bryan Canavan built a full-length concrete cricket pitch in his backyard in the 1980s where his young son worked towards his "true calling" - wearing the baggy green cap for Australia.

He didn't make it. Instead Matt Canavan became an economist, worked at the Productivity Commission and was elected a Senator in 2013.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan speaks to the media at Parliament House in Canberra on July 1. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer

He became a federal politician because "I wanted to do something where my children could see the differences that I was making", he said during his inaugural Senate speech in 2014. He was clear about coal from day one.

"I want to put on the record my admiration and support for our fossil fuel industry and the thousands of jobs it supports, including my brother's," he said in that speech. He was Australia's Resources Minister by 2016.

Canavan has ramped up support for coal since the Coalition was re-elected in May, claiming the surprise result gave the government a mandate for coal-fired power stations.

At a NSW Minerals Council conference and the Sydney Institute this week he played a dead bat to questions about climate change, which didn't rate much of a mention in his speeches.

He preferred the "cogent comments" of the International Energy Agency, which he said predicted growth in thermal coal to at least 2040. Canavan also argued coal was the best path for about one billion people around the globe denied access to electricity that "we all enjoy here in the Western world".

The IEA was established in 1974 in response to the "oil shocks" of that period, when embargos by some oil........

© Canberra Times