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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Shorten negotiates on climate policy

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Bill Shorten. (file pic)
Bill Shorten. (file pic)

Bill Shorten says the delay in bringing in a long-term national policy to cut carbon emissions is pushing up power bills and action is needed before the year’s end.

The opposition leader will use a speech in Sydney on Tuesday to propose a bipartisan approach to climate policy.

“If the economic and environmental case stacks up, we’re not going to get stuck in a hair-splitting argument about the difference between an emissions intensity scheme and a clean energy target,” Mr Shorten will tell the Australian Clean Energy Summit.

Labor took to the 2016 election the policy of an EIS covering the electricity sector, but a report by chief scientist Alan Finkel recommended a CET.

The government has adopted 49 out of 50 recommendations from the Finkel review, but not the CET.
Average wholesale electricity prices have doubled over the past year.

“Until this policy uncertainty ends, prices will keep going up. It’s time for the parliament to commit to a price on pollution,” Mr Shorten will say.

“Everyone knows this is inevitable … if we continue to delay, we are risking investment after the RET winds down in 2020, despite the good economics of renewable energy.”

Mr Shorten says Labor won’t write the government a blank cheque and would demand involvement in the policy design and the drafting process.

He urged Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to hold talks with Labor’s Mark Butler as a starting point.

“Let’s get to work on a price on pollution now. Let’s get the legislation into the parliament and through the parliament this year, so it’s not buried or derailed by an election campaign.”

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