Business Council statement on the National Energy Guarantee

20 August 2018

The Business Council and its members – large users, generators and retailers – strongly supported the National Energy Guarantee as a workable solution to the trilemma of ensuring reliable energy supply, bringing on new investment to drive affordability and meeting our international commitments, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“We support lower prices but this will not be achieved by ad hoc and extreme intervention in the electricity market which brings new risks, unintended consequences and has never worked before.

“While we understand the need to prioritise affordability, greater intervention and more regulation – including forced divestment which even the ACCC rejected as an “extreme measure” – is not the answer.

“It is a band-aid solution that will at best provide short-term relief.

“By exacerbating sovereign risk and interfering in market outcomes, the proposals will discourage investment in urgently needed dispatchable power with serious consequences for prices and reliability down the track.

“The measures announced today do not go to the heart of the problem that must be fixed and that the NEG was designed to address.

“The NEG was the first proposal that sought to integrate energy and climate change policy, providing a clear signal to business and industry about how emissions will be treated in this country and most importantly brought reliability to the front and centre of energy policy.

“Over recent months the prospect of greater policy stability has seen a downward trend in wholesale prices. Without locking-in this overarching framework, investment uncertainty will continue to be unresolved and the national electricity market will remain unfit-for-purpose.

“Over the past decade governments of both persuasions, federal and state, have created this mess – through failed attempts at carbon pricing, ill-conceived green schemes, a renewable energy target that forced out baseload supply, gold plating of energy infrastructure and irresponsible moratoriums on gas exploration by some states.

“Time and time again business has been willing to engage in constructive policy design but short term political gain has always prevailed.

“Once again, we call on all political parties to work together to deliver a workable and durable energy and climate change policy that will drive investment and improve certainty.

“This must include working constructively with the business community to ensure there are no unintended consequences from today’s announcement.

“Unfortunately, the cost of continued ad hoc intervention in the electricity market will ultimately be borne by Australian households, businesses and workers.”

Media contact: (02) 8224 9214


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