Coalition Senators' Dissenting Report

Introduction

1.1        The Coalition Senators do not support the Recommendations contained in the Final Report.  The majority report does not adequately or fairly reflect the evidence presented to the committee.  Further, the Coalition Senators object to the ideologically driven conclusions which are counter to the Government's technology agnostic policy approach.

1.2        The Coalition Senators recognise that the energy sector is essential to Australian's wellbeing and standard of living, and plays a pivotal role in Australia's ongoing prosperity.  Energy security must be government's number one energy policy priority.  The transition to a lower emissions economy must be done in a way that maintains a secure and affordable energy supply to industry and households.

1.3        The bringing together of the Environment and Energy portfolios under the Federal Minister for the Environment & Energy in August 2016 is facilitating the integration of climate change and energy policy with the central aim to keep energy secure, reliable and affordable whilst achieving emissions reductions.

1.4        The Government has a comprehensive policy framework in place to achieve this objective:

1.5        At the same time, the Federal Government, in conjunction with the COAG Energy Council, is currently developing a long-term national blueprint for the national energy sector through the Finkel Review.  A final report to the Energy Council is expected mid 2017.

1.6        Since these measures have been announced, the Government has also been actively pursuing a technology neutral approach as evidenced by:

1.7        The Coalition Senators support a transition of the energy market which is supportive of displaced workers, their families and surrounding communities.  The indirect impacts on associated small-medium businesses need to be considered in any Government response which is why the Federal Government's package in response to the Hazelwood closure not only supported workers and their families but was also designed to support the broader community across the region. 

1.8        Fundamentally, and contrary to the Majority Report, Coalition Senators do not believe that the best way to achieve an effective transition is to force the exit of coal fired power generation from the electricity system.

Senator Linda Reynolds                                        Senator Jonathon Duniam
Deputy Chair

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