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Work begins on Energy White Paper

5 December 2013

The Australian Government will deliver a new framework for national energy and resources policy that is clear, consistent and stable.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane has released terms of reference for the Australian Government’s Energy White Paper that will drive economy-wide reforms of Australia’s energy sector.

“The Government has made a new Energy White Paper a priority because it will set out a cohesive policy to secure our long-term domestic energy needs, maintain international competitiveness and grow our export base,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Stable energy policy is essential given its close connection to issues that affect every home and business, including electricity prices.

“It’s also important that international investors can have faith that Government policy will be clear and consistent without any nasty surprises.

“We will take action to ease cost pressure on households and businesses and give the community confidence that the energy industry is operating in an efficient and sustainable manner.

“The previous Labor Government bungled its Energy White Paper process.  It was beset by an endless cycle of delays and by the time it was released it was barely worth the paper it was written on, given Labor’s repeated policy changes, introduction of new taxes including the carbon tax and mining tax, and new layers of regulation and red tape.

“The White Paper will deliver on the Government’s economy-wide reforms relevant to the energy sector. Reforming regulation, improving workforce skills and encouraging innovation will help drive the efficiencies and productivity to put downward pressure on domestic costs and grow energy exports.

“The Government also understands the need to create the right environment to attract investment,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Australia has the potential to be an energy and resources superpower, particularly in terms of LNG exports.

“We have considerable energy resources but it is important to assure investors that Australia is ‘open for business’ and to have clear and predictable policy settings.”

The Department of Industry will consult key stakeholders and invite public submissions. This transparency will ensure policy is robust, well-informed, and relevant to energy consumers, Australian industry, and the energy and resources sector.

The terms of reference outline the purpose, scope and timeline for the development of the White Paper. An Issues Paper will be released this month and a Green Paper in May 2014. An expert reference panel will advise the Department during the development of the White Paper.

The terms of reference are available at www.industry.gov.au/EnergyWhitePaper

Media contacts: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070