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Detail needed on Turnbull Government energy plan

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Queensland’s Energy Minister Mark Bailey said further detailed analysis of the ‘National Energy Guarantee’ needs to be provided by the Turnbull Government to determine if it delivers for Queenslanders.

Mr Bailey said Queensland will consider this new proposal put forward by the Commonwealth after it rejected the central Finkel Review recommendation, but further information was needed.

“We understand how important it is to finally end the policy uncertainty that has prevailed under the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, but we need the Federal Government to work with the States in detail to ensure the proposal actually delivers for Queenslanders,” Mr Bailey said.

“As Federal Energy Minister Frydenberg acknowledged in this afternoon’s COAG Energy Council teleconference to discuss the plan, there has been no modelling undertaken to back up the proposal, including claims of bill reductions for customers.

“Given Queensland has retained ownership of its power generators, we are better placed than other jurisdictions to be able to be able to assist the Turnbull Government to honour its power generation guarantee.

However, at a minimum, Queensland’s immediate questions to the Federal Government are:

  1. How will the Turnbull Government guarantee Queensland’s position – as confirmed by the Australian Energy Market Operator – as the only mainland State connected to the National Electricity Market not at risk of electricity supply shortfall over the next decade will be preserved?
  2. How will the Turnbull Government guarantee Queensland’s stabilised electricity prices – an average of 1.9% increase per annum under the Palaszczuk Government – are not put at risk by the National Energy Guarantee, when the Prime Minister’s home state of New South Wales has seen increases of up to 20% in 2016-17 in?
  3. How will the Turnbull Government guarantee a $115 per year saving on electricity bills in 2020 and will this be on current bills?

“It’s also not clear what this plan will do to tackle energy sector emissions and the threat of climate change, or even how the emissions reduction trajectory will be set.

“The detail is threadbare and it would be irresponsible to set the nation’s energy policy based on a short letter which is all we’ve been given.”

Mr Bailey said that during the meeting, States and Territories secured a commitment from Minister Frydenberg to provide them with a copy of the terms of reference and modelling once available.

“We need to see more detail on what this plan would mean for Queenslander’s electricity prices, renewable investment and emissions before we can even think about signing up to it,” Mr Bailey said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is 100 per cent committed to getting the best outcome for Queensland electricity customers.

“We’re also backing the cheapest form of energy infrastructure to build which will put downward pressure on prices and that’s why we’re committed to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“The state is well positioned to deliver on this target with a huge pipeline of renewable investment and the youngest and most efficient fleet of coal-fired generation fleet in the National Electricity Market.

“In Queensland, we will continue to drive clean energy investment and jobs and also ensure ongoing access to affordable and reliable energy supply.

“Our $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan sets out a comprehensive strategy to guide the state through the short and long-term challenges facing Australia’s energy markets, improve electricity affordability and reduce cost of living pressures for Queenslanders.”

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