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Plausible new direction for energy policy

"Today's announcement by the Prime Minister offers a plausible new direction for energy policy with a welcome focus on energy security but further work will be needed by all concerned to help significantly drive down energy prices for hard-pressed domestic and industrial energy users," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said today.

"With surging energy prices creating a huge headache for industry across Eastern Australia right now more electricity generation is critical, alongside recent steps to bring more gas into the domestic market.

"If agreed and finalised, the plan announced today would clarify the future treatment of electricity sector emissions and give investors greater confidence to build the new and upgraded generation we need. But only bipartisanship on energy policy will create the conditions for long-term investment in energy generation and by big energy users.

"The policy gives electricity retailers full flexibility to use existing markets and contracting processes to meet their reliability and emissions obligations. Requiring lower emissions in the electricity sector would contribute to meeting Australia's Paris climate commitments. We should strive to achieve these reductions at least cost and the technology neutral nature of the proposed obligation is positive.

"The plan gives the electricity sector a great deal of flexibility and it gives welcome recognition of the imperative of maintaining trade competitiveness for emissions-intensive industries.

"The Government will need to consult deeply with industry, the community, the States and the Opposition to make this approach a success. But we are hopeful that cooperation is possible to achieve lower prices, maintain reliability and meet Australia's emissions commitments.

"We must maintain that hope – because the alternative is to continue the current pathway of rising emissions, lost competitiveness and declining reliability," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347