Referral and conduct of the inquiry
On 13 October 2016, the Senate referred the following matter to the
Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and interim
report by 28 November 2016 and final report by 1 February 2017:
- the experience of closures of electricity generators and other large
industrial assets on workers and communities, both in Australia and overseas;
the role that alternative mechanisms can play in alleviating and
minimising the economic, social and community costs of large electricity
generation and other industrial asset closures, drawing on experiences in
Australia and overseas;
policy mechanisms to encourage the retirement of coal fired power
stations from the National Electricity Market, having regard to:
- the 'Paris Agreement' to keep global warming below 2 degrees celsius,
and ideally below 1.5 degrees celsius,
the state and expected life span of Australia's coal fired power plants,
the increasing amount of electricity generated by renewable energy and
likely future electricity demand,
- maintenance of electricity supply, affordability and security, and
any other relevant matters;
policy mechanisms to give effect to a just transition for affected
workers and communities likely impacted by generator closures, as agreed in the
'Paris Agreement', including:
mechanisms to ensure minimal community and individual impact from
mechanisms to attract new investment and jobs in affected regions and
the appropriate role for the Federal Government in respect of the above;
any other relevant matters.
The Senate subsequently extended the reporting date to 29 March 2017.
Conduct of the inquiry
In accordance with its usual practice, the committee advertised the
inquiry on its website and wrote to relevant individuals and organisations
inviting submissions by 10 November 2016. The committee continued to accept
submissions after this date.
The committee received 139 submissions, which are listed at Appendix 1.
The public submissions are also available on the committee's website at www.aph.gov.au/senate_ec.
The committee held public hearings for this inquiry in Canberra on
9 November 2016 and in Melbourne on 17 November 2016. Since
the tabling of the interim report, the committee held an additional two public
hearings for this inquiry, in Sydney on 22 February 2017 and in Perth on
23 February 2017. A list of witnesses who appeared at all hearings is at
Note on references
In this report, references to the committee Hansard transcripts
are to the proof transcripts. Page numbers may vary between proof and official Hansard
The committee thanks all of the individuals and organisations that contributed
to the inquiry.
Structure of the report
This final report encompasses the interim report, and comprises five
chapters. The matters covered in the remaining chapters of the report are
Chapter 2 outlines the electricity market in Australia, the
contribution of coal fired power stations in electricity generation and the
role of coal fired power stations in meeting emissions targets;
Chapter 3 discusses potential mechanisms for the retirement of coal
fired power stations;
Chapter 4 discusses the role of 'just transition' policies and
options for transition management; and
Chapter 5 sets out the committee view and recommendations.
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