Electric grid

Will Labor Finally See Reason on Energy Policy?

Labor has settled on a new leader. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has secured a majority parliament and reshuffled his cabinet. Now it looks like both parties are ready to get down to business.

New Labor leader Anthony Albanese wants to work with the government on climate change, but a voice within the coalition is more concerned with building coal-fired power stations.

Mr Albanese on Monday called for bipartisanship in order to give certainty to businesses on energy policy.

The time for the ongoing conflict over these issues surely is over,’ he told reporters in Sydney.

(Climate) action will create jobs, it will benefit our economy and it will benefit our environment. And the business community say that — they are crying out for certainty.

Labor’s policies include a 45 per cent emissions reduction target and 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, but they are set for review after last weekend’s shock election loss.

The re-elected Morrison government has a more modest emissions reduction goal of 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

Meanwhile, former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has declared that building a new coal-fired power station is a moral imperative for the government.

Mr Joyce, continuing his role of outspoken backbencher, said it was intolerable that people around Australia weren’t able to afford their power bills after years of rising prices.

That for me is the greatest moral problem of our time in Australia, that we have now created a nation with the dearest power prices in the world for which people are truly suffering,’ he told Sky News.

We’ve taken them back a century and a half to a time of candles because of our policies.

We’ve got to recognise that and we’ve got to be able to break this zeitgeist down and if we say we’re going to build a coal-fired power station, get out there and do it.

The government has a shortlist of a dozen power generation projects it is considering underwriting, including gas and hydro projects and a coal station upgrade.

It has also pledged a $10 million feasibility study into ways to meet the energy needs of heavy industry in north and central Queensland, including a coal-fired power plant at Collinsville.

After that study was announced, Mr Joyce tweeted that ‘we have got ourselves a coal fired power station for Qld’.

On Monday he also urged the government to get on with its so-called big stick energy law to break up companies that misuse their market power.

The legislation giving these powers to the competition watchdog failed to pass parliament before the election.

There is no policy that Canberra can come forward with that will change the climate back but, by God, you can make people poorer, you can make them more miserable and you have no right to do that,’ Mr Joyce said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor holds onto that portfolio and adds emissions reduction to his responsibilities, rejoining the two policy areas.

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The Australian Tribune with AAP

The Australian Tribune with AAP

The Australian Tribune with AAP

Comments: 1

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  1. No, Labor will not “see the light”. The toughest inquisitor in the land tried to force the Opposition Leader to agree to building a coal fired power station. He did not get a plain answer, nor could Mr Albanese give him an honest answer. And that is a true dilemma for the Labor party. They are bound by the “progressive” ideology and the voters are rejecting them.
    I thought that the politicians are supposed to listen to the people, and then try their best to to put into motion what they hear. Try to suggest that to R De Natale.