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Securing our energy future

20 June 2017

Joint media release with the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, and the Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

The Turnbull Government is taking immediate action to put downward pressure on power prices and ensure reliable energy for all Australians. 

Every decision we make in the energy sector is designed to ease pressure on household bills and make businesses more competitive. 

Today, the Turnbull Government agreed to:

  • Finalise tough new regulations in the gas sector to give Australian customers priority access to gas supply before it is exported. This will commence on July 1.

  • Strengthen the Australian Energy Regulator by providing it with an additional $67.4 million to stop energy network companies gaming the system and overturning rulings in the courts.

  • Ask AEMO how to ensure that new continuous dispatchable power is provided, including what support is needed to promote new investment.

This decisive action puts the needs of Australian families and businesses first. Our priority is to ensure all Australians have access to reliable and affordable energy supplies. 

The finalisation of our tough gas regulations will increase supply to the domestic market, putting downward pressure on gas prices which have risen because of supply shortfalls.  

We simply cannot allow Australians to pay more for Australian gas than competitors overseas do. 

Restrictions will be placed on gas exporters when there are shortages in the domestic market. 

The Turnbull Government will also take immediate action to address escalating electricity prices.

We will stop big electricity companies from running to the courts to try to overturn the Australian Energy Regulator’s decisions. Companies have made 52 appeals and the courts have ruled against consumers 31 times. This will end.

To back this, we will strengthen the Regulator by providing it with an additional $67.4 million to ensure it is fully equipped to address behaviour in the market that is pushing up electricity prices.  

Baseload power anchors our electricity system. Continuous generation underpins our household and economic security. With a significant amount of baseload generation being phased out over the next 15 years, we need to ensure we are prepared and have enough power to meet future needs. 

We will ask the responsible market body, the Australian Energy Market Operator, to:

  • identify the existing and potential loss of continuous, dispatchable (baseload) generation;

  • talk to suppliers and customers, particularly large-scale emissions intensive industrial users, about what they need to secure future investment; and

  • examine how much continuous power is needed in the short term to stabilise power prices.

On the back of the identified need, we will ask AEMO how best to ensure the new continuous dispatchable power is provided, optimising affordability and security for consumers, including what if any support, including support from Governments if new investment is needed.  

At an emergency COAG Energy Council meeting last year, following South Australia’s state-wide blackout, the Chief Scientist was tasked with developing a long term blueprint for the future security of the national electricity market.

The Chief Scientist's report was provided to COAG on 9 June. We are continuing to examine his report with the care it deserves.  

The Commonwealth will progress the recommendations of the Chief Scientist, through the COAG Energy Council, which focus on enhanced security, stability, transparency and governance of the energy system and will continue further to consider and analyse the Clean Energy Target.

Media contacts: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180