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Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched a strident defence of coal on Wednesday, saying the industry was worth $70 billion a year to the economy and vital to many communities around the country.

Asked about the world's biggest investment fund BlackRock dumping half a billion dollars in coal shares, Morrison said transitioning away from coal could “[pull] the rug from regional communities”.

But experts say most Australians would “hardly notice” if we went coal-free, and that the transition was already well underway.