Our electricity and gas supplies are the cornerstone of Australia’s economy, powering our industries, our cities and our homes. The bulk of electricity and gas is used in Australian businesses to support our competitiveness and to create jobs and prosperity for Australians.
But substantial changes in our electricity and gas market and a lack of policy certainty has recently resulted in blackouts and higher electricity and gas prices for all customers. Our immediate focus must therefore be on restoring the security, reliability and affordability of our electricity and gas systems. However, we cannot ignore the need for a more sustainable system as we transition towards a lower emissions economy.
To achieve this, we need a clear and comprehensive policy framework to be put in place at a national level. Companies will only invest in new infrastructure in electricity and other key industries if they can see a stable policy framework, with minimal government intervention, that will endure whomever is in power.
The Business Council supports the development of an integrated, national and bipartisan energy and climate change policy framework that can deliver the following four key goals:
- Secure and reliable energy supply
- Affordable energy supply
- Strong, internationally competitive economy
- Meet current and future absolute emission reduction targets.
We must look economy-wide for the lowest cost sources of abatement, building on the existing regulatory frameworks while developing specific policies in key sectors. Australia must also avail itself of potentially lower-cost, credible international carbon abatement if we can.
To achieve our emissions reduction goals, Australia will need a suite of durable 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.
The Business Council’s secretariat contact for energy and climate change policy issues is Kieran Donoghue, Special Adviser, Energy and Climate Change.