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NOW IS THE TIME FOR DECISIVENESS ON THE NATIONAL ENERGY MARKET

26 Jun 2017


Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the Snowy Hydro Tumut 2 Power Station and talk to Snowy Hydro about their plans for expanding their pumped hydro capacity.

This is an exciting project for our country and the region. Snowy Hydro are seeking feasibility funding from ARENA (an organisation the Government wanted to abolish) and they will be raising funding for the construction phase purely on their own initiative.

To be clear, any expansion of the Snowy Hydro Scheme has nothing to do with, nor is it reliant on the Turnbull Government. The Prime Minister’s recent “Snowy Hydro 2.0” media stunt highlights a Government that values style over substance when it comes to tackling climate change and renewable energy.

Further exposing the Government’s attitudes on climate change was the unedifying spectacle of the Minister for the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, in Parliament yesterday joking about the threat to our local ski industry.

This industry is worth $2billion a year and supports 18,000 local jobs - that is half the economy of the Monaro. The CSIRO have calculated that 50% of the snow cover will be gone by 2050 at the current rate of climate change. When I visited Snowy Hydro, they confirmed this with their observations of the steady contraction of the snow season. Nothing to laugh about!

The time has come for the Turnbull Government to take their job seriously and work towards addressing the issues of planning for the new grid and managing the National Energy Market.

I am passionate about preventing the ravages of dangerous climate change and the Labor Party has been arguing for over a decade that Australia must act decisively on renewable energy. With the recent release of the Finkel report, the security and reliability of Australia’s energy supply is once again at the forefront of people’s minds.

Despite commissioning this report the Turnbull Government has failed yet again to act on expert advice, paralysed by their deep internal divisions.

Business and the broader community need the certainty and clarity that comes from a sound approach to managing the energy market, which will have the effect of driving job growth and investment in an area we desperately need, the energy sector.

The only thing standing in the way is the Turnbull Government.



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