The federal energy minister has invoked the spirit of Robert Menzies to urge the opposition to get behind the proposed upgrade of the Snowy Hydro Scheme.
The former prime minister was opposition leader at the time the original scheme was launched by Ben Chifley's Labor government.
"Just as Menzies after some initial hesitations put aside partisan differences and got behind the original Snowy scheme, it is hoped federal Labor will get on board the government's plan," Josh Frydenberg wrote in an opinion piece for the Financial Review on Tuesday.
The plan to increase the capacity of the iconic scheme by 50 per cent will make up to 2000 megawatts available to the national electricity market.
Mr Frydenberg warned if the upgrade did not go ahead there would be a weaker and more expensive system.
"We would have failed to future-proof the grid for the inevitable arrival of more intermittent renewables," he said.
A feasibility study released late last year found the project, while financially and technically viable, is likely to cost between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, far outweighing the initial estimate of $2 billion.