Environmental policy got a huge boost, so where was the Minister?

Can you name Australia’s environment minister? She’s got a solid CV in the mining industry.

The coalition government has announced a ‘climate solutions fund’ ahead of the next election.

The $2 billion extension of Tony Abbott's Direct Action fund is aimed at ensuring Australia meets its 2030 emissions reduction target.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered the news without Environment Minister Melissa Price by his side.

Prompting a few people to ponder her whereabouts.

Who is Melissa Price?

Melissa Price took over as Environment minister from Josh Frydenberg last August following the leadership spill.

Covering about half of Western Australia, Ms Price’s electorate of Durack is the largest in the country. Its economic roots lie in mining, and so does Ms Price’s resume.

In her maiden speech to parliament in 2013, the West Australian detailed her work experience which included management in the fast food industry, a stint as an aerobics instructor and - what may seem most relevant now - a long history of employment in the mining sector.

Mel Price's Linkedin History
Melissa Prices’ LinkedIn profile lists mining as her top professional experience and details her employment history within the sector.

Ms Price has worked for Robe River Iron Associates - which is largely owned by mining giant Rio Tinto; and Crosslands Resources - owned by Mitsubishi Corporation. As part of her role she travelled to the mid-west of Western Australia to assess possible mining acquisitions.

It would take five years in parliament and an appointment to the assistant minister for the environment for Ms Price to sell her shares in seven mining and resource companies:  BHP, Otis Energy, Ampella, Panaust, South32 and Northern Star.

However, in August - shortly after taking the portfolio - Ms Price attended an event hosted by oil exploration giant INPEX where she heralded the contribution the company has made to her electorate.

Mel Price INPEX event
Price attends INPEX-hosted event last August.
Supplied

In October last year, Ms Price’s response to the  United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received widespread criticism after she argued that scientists were “drawing a long bow” in calling for an end to coal power in a bid to limit global warming.

The minister has been widely criticised for being absent during recent natural disasters - including the major fish kill at Menindee.

Mel Price's register of members’ interests
Melissa Price deleted her shares from the register of members’ interests shortly after becoming assistant minister for the environment.
Supplied

In November, she was forced to deny being an ‘L-plate minister’.  Fellow liberal Concetta Fierravanti-Wells made the remarks in a Fairfax Media opinion piece after Ms Price reportedly offended the former Kirabati president Anote Tong in a Canberra restaurant, telling him he was just there for cash.

Ms Price said she couldn't recall the complete conversation.

The Feed has contacted Ms Price for an interview but her office did not respond in time for publishing.

MINING INDUSTRY INFILTRATING PRIMARY SCHOOLS

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