An Australian wind industry lobbying group launched a ferocious attack on its energy minister over his government’s climate record amid the bushfires that are ravaging large swathes of the country.

The Australian Wind Alliance labelled Angus Taylor’s appearance at a coal mine a “sick joke” and slammed the politician’s claims that Australia has a “climate change record to be proud of”.

The body hit back after Taylor – who holds the energy brief in the Coalition government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison – defended its emissions policies in a national newspaper article.

“Angus Taylor has spent his entire political career fighting against climate action and undermining renewable energy. As the country burns, he has nothing to be proud of,” claimed the Australian Wind Alliance.

The minister was also lambasted for his appearance at the mine. “It is deeply ironic that while renewable energy is the only part of the economy delivering sustained emissions reductions, the minister for emissions reduction has chosen to double-down on coal, the primary driver of emissions increases,” said Andrew Bray, national coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance.

“At a time when homes and lives have been lost to the devastating climate-fuelled bushfires in his own backyard, this stunt comes across as some kind of sick joke.”

The bushfire crisis has increased the pressure on Morrison’s government over its defence of fossil fuel industries, while Taylor was branded the “most anti-renewable, climate change-denying” politician ever to hold his post when he was appointed in 2018.

The Australian Wind Alliance in recent days repeated criticism of Taylor’s appearance at anti-wind power rallies before he became minister.

Despite the national government's scepticism, Australia has nevertheless emerged as a key global market for wind, solar and storage with some of the world's biggest projects planned, thanks to previous federal targets, supportive state policies and excellent natural resources.