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Energy Green Paper setting policy direction for an energy superpower

23 September 2014

The Australian Government has released an Energy Green Paper, which sets a framework for the development of a coherent and comprehensive blueprint that will allow Australia to take full advantage of its natural strengths and consolidate its position as an energy superpower, Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said.

Speaking at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, Mr Macfarlane said the Government’s focus is to enhance competition, innovation and productivity in the energy sector.

“Australia has world-class energy resources, and we must ensure that we have the right policy framework to use them to our full advantage, in an increasingly competitive global market,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Government is resetting Industry policy in Australia to build on our areas of competitive strength. The energy sector is one of those strengths and the Energy Green Paper will identify the ways in which we can improve the framework surrounding our energy assets.

“Australia has an abundance of energy resources and energy assets. We are well regarded internationally for our diverse range of energy sources and we are supplying increasing volumes of energy commodities to energy-hungry nations in the Asian region.

“We can’t afford to become complacent – Australia must also be the world’s best in how we access and utilise our energy resources.”

The Green Paper is built around four key themes - attracting energy resources investment, electricity prices, building gas supply and improving market operation and security, innovation and energy productivity.

“Whether it’s through world firsts in floating LNG technology, ensuring flexible, transparent domestic energy markets or connecting the Australian energy market in the most sophisticated way that adds value to our economy, the Government’s focus is on maximising our competitive edge and natural strengths.

“This includes addressing questions about how to ensure Australia’s vast gas reserves are accessed to the benefit of local industry, consumers and export markets.

“It also means ensuring Australia has access to the sophisticated and technologically skilled workforce to maximise our opportunities and it means having the information available to empower consumers with competition and choice to minimise their electricity costs.

“We have already repealed the carbon tax and the mining tax and streamlined regulation. The development of the Energy Green Paper, followed by the White Paper, will continue policy reform that is focussed on ensuring our energy sector has the scope to expand.

“The Australian energy market has undergone significant transformation in recent years as a result of declining demand and changing patterns of consumption. The Green Paper will also take this into account in outlining a framework for policies that ensure a balance of reliability and affordability, as well as the best energy mix.”

The Green Paper also considers questions about privatisation of State and Territory owned energy assets, as well as the challenges for ensuring sufficient gas supply, especially in NSW, and is open to consideration of all energy resources and technologies.

Submissions to the Green Paper will close on 4 November and will inform the development of the Energy White Paper outlining the Government’s long term energy policy.

The Green Paper and details on how to make a submission are available on the Department of Industry’s website at www.ewp.industry.gov.au.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070