Remember the NEG, the National Energy Guarantee ?
Introduced by Malcolm Turnbull in 2017. The idea of the NEG was to establish a national energy policy to tackle rising energy prices in Australia and to introduce a bipartisan national policy on power and energy. It was also designed to give confidence and clarity for energy producers to invest in energy infrastructure into the future.
The overriding commitment of the NEG was to combine emissions reductions with stability and continuity of energy supply at stable prices as we transition away from fossil fuels.
Malcolm Turnbull was tossed out of office in August 2018 and his successor, Scott Morrison announced in September 2018 that the government would henceforth focus on cheap electricity prices and Australia would scrap the NEG and all would be well – and some of us fell for it : whatever the case it was off the table.
The important components to the new Morrison plan were not to mention the NEG ever again and certainly not to mention Malcolm Turnbull – in fact, they talked about throwing him out of the Liberal Party.
So, in effect nothing was done beyond burying data on energy shortages and ignoring warnings of price spikes coming.
Interestingly, WA introduced gas reservation as a policy in that state : if you were a gas producer you had to reserve fifteen percent of production for domestic consumption in Western Australia. The ACT introduced renewable energy targets and obligations which have shielded them from the current price fluctuations in domestic gas (and coal) markets.
Beyond that nothing was done other than, in the last few days, when the coalition now in opposition decided that what was happening was all Labor’s fault and if you believe them, the energy market has crashed in the last ten days due to the election of a Labor government.
At the time this bipartisan policy was dumped it is worth noting that Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie urged the Morrison Government to find an agreement with Labor, saying the industry needed a bipartisan policy for investment certainty.
“We are in a paralysing policy vacuum and the dumping by the Government of their own policy [the NEG] was nonsensical. The NEG was a compromise, but we were prepared to support it,” she said.
This fell on deaf ears as the coalition under Morrison by this time had moved on to more important things like, religious discrimination laws.
Labor have said that they will revive the NEG.
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