Media & Speeches

Statement on COAG Meeting

Competition reforms

“We applaud state and territory jurisdictions that have joined the federal government to collaborate on competition and productivity-enhancing reforms. Their citizens can expect to enjoy better infrastructure, better services, greater investment and more successful businesses as a result,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This is the type of economic leadership and action that needs to occur following the release of the national accounts data earlier this week.

“The few states that are refusing to sign up to the agreement on competition and productivity-enhancing reforms are doing their citizens a disservice.

“The Business Council looks forward to working with participating governments to further develop these important initiatives.”

National energy market

“The Finkel Review Panel’s preliminary report provides valuable insights for first ministers who must ensure the security and affordability of Australia’s energy system as it transitions to lower emissions.

“Australia needs a suite of durable, post 2020 climate change policies that are integrated with broader energy policy and are capable of delivering Australia's emission reduction targets, at lowest possible cost, while maintaining competitiveness and growing Australia's future economy,” Ms Westacott said.

“We must begin the careful transformation of our economy if Australia is to achieve a lower emission future. Energy and climate change policies should be nationally consistent and bi- partisan, wherever possible.

 “The categorical ruling out of mechanisms to achieve this transition, or imposing arbitrary moratoriums on lower-emissions fuels such as onshore gas, limits Australia’s options.

 “Within the next decade, at least two more large coal-fired generators are expected to close. With new investment in replacement coal-fired generation unlikely, wholesale electricity prices are likely to rise and new investment will be needed.

“If Australia’s electricity system is to significantly reduce its emissions by 2050 then renewable energy will be a key part of this transition. However, both the pace of transition and resulting market structure will be critical and we must get it right for the sake of all electricity customers.

“Without all the policy options on the table, Australia risks relying on expensive subsidies to renewable energy or blunt regulatory instruments which would increase costs for industry and their customers.

“The Business Council will continue to engage with the Finkel Review Panel and the 2017 Review team, and encourage all governments not to discount any policy options that could meet the objectives of a secure, affordable and reliable energy system.”