15 July 2017
When Australian Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, released his review of the National electricity Market – intended to provide a blueprint for how our electricity can be reliable, affordable and sustainable – many hoped it would form the basis of a national consensus on energy policy, after a decade of division.
NSW Labor cautiously welcomed the report, but said it needed to provide a path to Australia’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions in line with our Paris commitments.
Of the 50 recommendations made in the report, the crucial element was the clean energy target – necessary to provide the certainty for investors in our energy infrastructure and drive the transition to lower emissions.
The issue was whether the Liberals and Nationals – who walked away from the national consensus on climate change a decade ago – could constructively engage with this issue again.
The Council of Australian Government’s meeting on energy has shown that the Liberals and Nationals cannot be trusted with delivering energy security for our future, because they are not able to come to grips with a clean energy target.
The current Renewable Energy Target ends in 2020. The Federal Government has attacked those States that have developed their own pathways for renewable energy post 2020, but has consistently refused to or has been unable to provide any national leadership on the issue.
NSW Labor agrees with the Labor State Governments that if the Commonwealth does not deal with the issue, the States will have to forge their own path on these issues.
Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy, Adam Searle MLC said:
“The absence of leadership from the Commonwealth Government in developing a clear pathway to a low emissions economy and ensuring our electricity system is reliable, affordable and sustainable is just a disgrace.
“This has happened because of the ideological war raging inside the Liberal and National parties.
“The facts are that we need to reduce our carbon emissions and reducing the emissions from the electricity sector is key to this. We know that switching from an 80 per cent reliance on coal-fired power to a significantly greater proportion of our electricity coming from renewable sources is not just desirable, but necessary.
“If the Commonwealth won’t take the lead, it can hardly complain if the States do.”