Business consultant pays $2.5m to lobby Australia’s cabinet on nuclear energy

Business consultant Richard Pritchard is paid $2,521,000 to lobby the Federal Government on nuclear power, according to data compiled by The Australian newspaper.

Mr Pritington, a former chief executive of Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and an adviser to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was paid $5.6 million in 2013 and 2014, according a Government Department spokeswoman.

The figure does not include consulting fees paid to the firm.

The data was obtained by The Guardian under Freedom of Information laws, which allow anyone to submit information to the government.

The Government said the figure did not reflect any lobbying work Mr Piltchard had undertaken in the past.

Mr Turnbull has said he wants to make sure Australia remains a global leader in energy.

He said he did not know Mr Peltys work had been “discussed by anyone outside the Government”.

“I’ve never had any contact with Richard Piltys other than a short email exchange which he sent to me in August 2017,” Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Joyce has been criticised by some for having a “chummy relationship” with Mr Pilsons former employer, ARENA.

Mr Joyce said that he had had a “very cordial” relationship with Mr Turnbull and had always maintained that the “best interest of the taxpayer” was at the forefront of his priorities.

“I don’t think I have a good relationship with him and I don’t know how you would find any good relationship,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s office said Mr Joyce was “not aware of any lobbying activities by Mr Piltsons company”.

It added that Mr Joyce’s office had no comment to make about Mr Pilitons work.