ACT lays out conditions for NEG – and it won’t please Coalition party room

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ACT lays out conditions for approval of the controversial policy platform, and they won’t please the climate deniers in the Coalition party room.

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The ACT government – which the ability to have a veto over the national Energy Guarantee – has laid out its conditions for approval of the controversial policy platform, and they won’t please the climate deniers in the Coalition party room.

In a debate in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday, energy minister Shane Rattenbury (Greens), and chief minister Andrew Barr (Labor) said Australia needed to raise the ambition of the country’s emissions reduction target “right now.”

And that underlines its conditions of approval. The ACT wants a review mechanism built into the scheme so that Australia’s progress against the level of emissions reduction necessary to meet the Paris climate treaty can be assessed at “reasonable intervals.”

The Coalition is seeking to lock in its weak target – of just 26 per cent for the electricity sector – until 2030, despite its own analysis that this target will be met by 2022.

“Five years is still too long a period to lock in a target,” Barr said on Thursday.

“It must be possible to ramp up the target, to flexibly adjust, and ensure we are making adequate progress on cutting our emissions and preventing harmful climate change.”

Barr also insisted that state-based targets, such as the ACT’s goal of 100 per cent renewable supply for electricity, must be additional to the NEG.

“If the ESB framework can accommodate additional voluntary action through GreenPower, then there should be no technical reason why it cannot also accommodate additional state and territory effort,” he said.

“Canberra households have put their money where their values are in supporting our transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity. We will not let our community’s leadership on renewables become the excuse for other parts of Australia doing less.

Barr said the  Energy Security Board’s proposed framework was for voluntary emissions reductions by consumers who choose to buy GreenPower can be recognised, but fails to do this for state and territory targets.

“In effect, the ACT, Victoria and Queensland will be doing all the heavy lifting of national emissions reduction through our ambitious schemes,leaving states like New South Wales to freeload on our efforts. That isn’t fair and it isn’t good enough.”

CoAG energy ministers were due to vote on the NEG next Friday (August 10), but this will be conditional at best, and will likely be delayed given the Labor states will not give their imprimatur as long as the Coalition party room is agitating for changes.

Barr indicated that final agreement on the NEG may not emerge for months, but said that if the Coalition government could agree to these demands, “then this will go a long way towards securing the ACT’s agreement to sign on.”

“We should be under no illusion about the internal Liberal and National Party contortions or compromises of principle that have led to the NEG’s development,” he said.

“We should not brush past the fact that real damage has been done to the security and reliability of our electricity networks, and the new jobs and investment pipeline, because this policy debate has gone on far longer than it should have.”

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9 Comments
  1. David leitch 3 months ago

    Additionality is a reasonable requirement and yet I doubt it is one that Frydenberg can deliver. At a stretch he might be able to get his party over the line on target review by regulation or at least without requiring “full legislation”. However even that would be a big stretch.

    • Peter Campbell 3 months ago

      As a Canberran, I fully endorse and am very pleased to hear that our chief minister backs Shane Rattenbury in not agreeing to the NEG without 1) additionality and 2) an absence of roadblocks to increased emission reductions ambition when we get a more responsible federal government.

    • Farmer Dave 3 months ago

      Yes, additionality is very reasonable, and not having it is at odds with expressed Liberal Party philosophy. They say that they are for choice, individual freedom, individual agency, and State’s rights, but by denying States, individuals and corporations the freedom to choose to reduce emissions from electricity generation above and beyond the objectives of federal government policy, they are acting contrary to their stated philosophy.

      Purchasing Green Power is just one way individuals, associations and corporations can reduce their emissions from the electricity they use; this policy is denying those people access to others ways of reducing emissions. An unkind person might reasonably conclude that Liberal Party philosophy is being ignored in an attempt to stem the rise of renewables.

      • grantoz 3 months ago

        A perfectly kind and reasonable person might also reach the same conclusion!

      • MaxG 3 months ago

        “they are acting contrary to their stated philosophy” which is as desired straight off their play book; bullsh!t the people with some slogans, and the stupid majority will vote for them. As seen every time the LNP wins any election. People with common sense would never be able to justify their vote for the LNP if they would actually think about what it means and what they are doing..
        No climate believer could ever give the LNP a vote; not one person who believes in a human system of caring for each other and the less fortunate would ever vote for the LNP; parents wanting the best education for their children would support a public education system and NOT fund private! schools like the LNP does. It is in fact beyond me, why anyone (other than coalers, incumbents, cronies, or climate deniers) would vote for these clowns. It seems like we’ve got a lot of the latter group casting their vote. No other explanation possible!

    • MacNordic 3 months ago

      “Undeliverable by Frydenberg”: Which might not be completely unintentional…
      Show your are ready to talk about a compromise and see the LNP& Co shoot down their own proposal – doesn´t get much better than that such a short time before the next elections.

      That said, I would suggest nearly everybody is convinced by now that no NEG is better than any form of NEG – I mean the electricity market has worked in the past without the NEG. It would just add several layers of complexity and bureaucracy (=cost, admin nightmare) without any noticable benefits. My take at least.

      Why not proceed with the existing framework, update that accordingly (new RE goals, for example) and back to the future?

  2. Joe 3 months ago

    Minister Shane, stay strong and the course, No NEG. Bananabee is fitting his walking shoes, he’s outta here, gone. Matteo Coalavan has sent his envoy, 2nd Lieutenant Georg, over to Japan to drum up some ‘$’s for new build Coalers’ and then we have the ringmaster himself, the Abbott, sharpening his knife ready to make his 2nd Leadership kill on Turnbull. Let the political games and dancing ala The LNP come to a crashing end and they be gotten rid of at next election. Then they can play all they like with their NEG on the backbenches.

    • Alistair Spong 3 months ago

      well said , we need a government with a mandate to act on climate change – good to see the bickering inside the Coalition being prolonged as long as possible , it provides enormous momentum for a clean break and substantive policy direction in the future , wish the CEC would show some spine and educate itself about the political reality.

  3. JackD 3 months ago

    NEG is as bad (almost) as it can get. Almost as bad as a Victorian Liberal Govt obstructing wind developments. Almost as bad as a SA Liberal Govt who are yet to and probably will eventually, kowtow to their federal counterparts and institute additional “difficulties” and “requirements” for developing wind, solar and batteries. If the answer is Liberal, the question must have been stupid.

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