Doorstop: National Energy Guarantee

Transcript
18 Oct 2017
Parliament House, Canberra
Prime Minister
The National Energy Guarantee; delivering affordable and reliable electricity for families and businesses
E&OE

PRIME MINISTER:

Well good morning. I really welcome the strong endorsements we’ve seen from industry about our energy guarantee. Now our National Energy Guarantee, as recommended by the Energy Security Board, will ensure that Australian’s have affordable and reliable energy and of course that we’ll meet our commitments to reduce emissions under the Paris Agreement.

This levels the playing field, it ends the subsidies, it’s a game-changer and it is all about delivering that triple bottom line: affordable, reliable power, meeting your emissions reduction commitments – affordability, reliability, responsibility.

Now as I’ve said many times, the focus is on engineering and economics. The Energy Security Board was setup by COAG, put the smartest people in the room around that table, and they’ve been asked for their advice. Their advice is well considered, it’s well informed and we know that this is the least cost way to deliver reliable, affordable energy and of course meet those international commitments.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, do you need the support of the Labor states to do this, and how will you win it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well for a COAG decision, of course it has to be, Chris, a decision of all the jurisdictions. Look the COAG setup the Energy Security Board, you know this is its creation. There were more Labor Governments involved with appointing these experts that there were Liberal ones, or Liberal-National ones. COAG has asked them for their advice on this very issue and they will obviously get the same advice. And so my message to the Labor Premiers is: put the politics aside for a moment – put it aside for quite a while in fact – let’s focus on Australian families, let’s focus on delivering a genuinely bipartisan energy policy. It will be enduing, it’s based on engineering and economics and that will deliver affordable power, reliable power and meet our international commitments.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, the ESB has talked about the modelling and the prices. Will you release it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Of course, well, the ESB – I can answer that very simply – we’ve asked them to do more modelling on this and when it’s done it will be released and it will be part of the COAG considerations, for sure.

JOURNALIST:

Will the Commonwealth go it alone if the states don’t agree?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I’m not going to speculate on that type of scenario. I am confident that common sense will prevail.

I mean, Australians are fed up with all of the political partisanship. That’s why we went to Energy Security Board and we asked them to consider how we ensure we achieve this affordable, reliable and responsible outcome. I mean it’s a triple bottom line. You want to have a market that is as flexible and competitive as possible, but you’ve got to ensure that it’s the lowest possible cost, that energy is reliable.

You heard Audrey Zibelman yesterday – she’s the Energy Market Operator. She is having to intervene regularly into the South Australian market, calling on generators at peak times, at high cost, to keep the lights on in South Australia. Do we really want that to be the case all around the nation?

You know, that’s where ideology and politics takes you. That’s where focusing on the politics of this and the slogans takes you.

Now what I’m announcing, what I announced yesterday, taking on that advice is a game-changer because what it does, it puts Australian families first. And they get the best deal, the most affordable and reliable electricity when you have a policy based on engineering and economics.

The ideology, the politics, the partisanship, the slogans have failed us. The time has come for objective, hard-headed, business-like policy based on engineering and economics. We have the advice from the most experienced and smartest people in the room. They were put around that Energy Security Board table by COAG and COAG should follow their advice.

Thanks very much.

[ENDS]