“The Australian Government’s Energy Green Paper is a welcome opportunity for consultation on how to achieve Australia’s potential as a global energy superpower,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said today.
“Our comparative advantage in affordable, plentiful and reliable supplies of energy is fundamental to our way of life and the competitiveness of businesses large, medium and small,” Ms Westacott said.
“Australian energy is also a major and growing source of export revenue and employment, accounting for 20 per cent of our exports, generating export income worth $66 billion in 2012–13, and employing over 125,000 people.
“Australia can be one of the world’s great energy powers, selling a growing amount of energy to the world while providing reliable, competitively priced energy to domestic households and businesses, but our energy sector is no longer fit for purpose in a changing world.
“We have had years of missteps on energy policy, which is driving up electricity prices. There is confusion between energy and climate policy, and inaction and a lack of political leadership in bringing on more gas supplies, particularly on the east coast.
“We need a complete rethink of planning and approval processes, which are imposing huge costs and delays in delivering major critical new energy projects. The unpredictable and often non-evidence-based nature of recent government regulatory changes has also not helped.
“The green paper process must lead to an acknowledgement that energy, if approached with purposeful policy, can be one of Australia’s great comparative advantages. It’s time to close the door on ad hoc, incoherent approaches to the energy sector that hurt national competitiveness.
“The white paper must then set a clear road map of policy directions and decisions to free-up new energy supplies, release the shackles on delivering major projects, and ensure competitively priced energy to households and businesses while managing the environmental issues at the lowest cost.
“We are pleased the green paper has focused on options to bring on new investment, to reduce the upward pressure on electricity prices, to improve the efficiency of the market, secure reliable and affordable energy, and lower greenhouse gas emissions in a technologically neutral way.
“We look forward to working with the government in the development of the Energy White Paper to help ensure Australia’s global comparative advantage in energy is realised, while continuing to underpin our way of life at home,” Ms Westacott said.
For further information contact:
Matt Newton, Communications Adviser
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2627 | Mobile 0409 550 578