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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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How long until Bill Shorten follows Jay Weatherill's big experiment?

Published: Tuesday, 27 February 2018

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After South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill announced another phase of his ‘big experiment’, Bill Shorten and Mark Butler must now answer whether they support his 75 per cent state-based renewable energy target and whether they would again follow his reckless example.

Like a problem gambler chasing his losses, Jay Weatherill has doubled down on his RET, promising to increase it from 50 to 75 per cent if he wins the South Australian election.

This is despite clear warnings and evidence against doing so. Under Jay Weatherill, South Australians have the least reliable and most expensive electricity system in the country, now paying 20 per cent more for their power than the national average.

Jay Weatherill has been warned at every turn that his ‘big experiment’ presents risks for system security, reliability and affordability. A chorus of voices have criticised state-based targets:

“Uncoordinated, unilateral state actions are likely to lead to higher prices and greater uncertainty"
Grattan Institute, May 2017

“State based renewable energy targets confuse and distort the market, and add costs to consumers”
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 11 October 2016

“Unilateral action by state and territory governments can undermine progress towards reducing the electricity sector’s emissions at lowest possible cost while delivering a secure and affordable system”
Business Council of Australia, 7 October 2016

For its part, Federal Labor has chosen to praise Jay Weatherill’s ‘big experiment’ in South Australia – with headlines and statements like:

“South Australia Leading on Energy Policy”
Shadow Energy Minister, Mark Butler, 14 March 2017

“a really exciting exercise of leadership by the South Australian Government”
Shadow Energy Minister, Mark Butler, 12 March 2017

“it was really brave for South Australia to lead the way”
Shadow Energy Minister, Mark Butler, 24 July 2017

Brave indeed. But what is most concerning is that Mark Butler called the state-wide blackout a ‘hiccup’ and holds out South Australia as an example to be followed.

Bill Shorten followed Jay Weatherill’s example in adopting a 50 per cent renewable energy target in 2015. Almost three years later, Bill Shorten has yet to release costings and design details for this RET.

But the real question now is: How long will it take Bill Shorten to follow Jay Weatherill’s example in adopting another reckless, ideological and ill-planned renewable energy target?





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