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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Labor crippling Australia's energy system state-by-state

Published: Friday, 25 August 2017

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Daniel Andrews has taken another step in the Labor Party’s reckless plan to take South Australia’s “big experiment” national, thereby jacking up prices, destroying jobs and crippling our energy system.

The announcement this week that Daniel Andrews would legislate a renewable energy target (VRET) of 40 per cent by 2025 creates more questions than answers and puts Victorian consumers at risk.

The move flies in the face of advice from the Australian Energy Council, Energy Users Association, Business Council of Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group and the Grattan Institute, who called Victoria’s policy a “nasty dog’s breakfast”.

This shambles is more obvious by the day. Not only does the VRET contradict the Chief Scientist Dr Finkel’s recommendation of a “nationally consistent approach”, but the Andrews Government has also been caught out by admitting a year ago that the VRET would both increase prices and be legislated. This exposes the falsehood that they are only acting in the absence of a Clean Energy Target:

“We are talking about price increases in the order of cents per week… we intend to introduce legislation, targets and the mechanism to have that target. That means we will be the first state that won’t just have an aspiration, but it will be backed up by legislation.” Victorian Energy and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, Interview with RenewEconomy, 15 June 2016

So which is it? Prices up or down? Support for a national approach or going it alone on isolated targets?

Federal Labor has just as many questions to answer. Despite a South Australian Labor government of 15 years overseeing the highest electricity prices and least stable system in the country, the Victorian Labor Government is now following suit with Bill Shorten and Mark Butler sitting scared on the sidelines and encouraging this reckless behaviour.

It makes a mockery of Bill Shorten and Mark Butler’s claim to support all 50 Finkel recommendations, not just to take a “nationally consistent approach” but also to “adopt evidence based regulatory regimes to manage the risk of individual gas projects on a case-by-case basis”. They refuse to call out Daniel Andrews on his mindless bans on conventional and unconventional gas, which is locking up 40 years’ worth of domestic gas supply and increasing prices.

Bill Shorten and Mark Butler claim to support blue-collar workers, including the thousands of coal jobs in the Latrobe Valley and nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs in Victoria. But they encourage Daniel Andrews in his war on coal by stating in their election platform that Labor will “kick-start” the closure of coal-fired power stations across Australia.

The VRET is unfortunately just the latest step in Labor’s ideological crusade across Australia. They rushed into renewables in South Australia and pushed out coal. They are doing the same in Victoria while locking up gas. If they had their way, Labor would take this big experiment national. All in the pursuit of green votes and all in the name of ideology.

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