The Turnbull government’s controversial National Energy Guarantee is set to stew for another six weeks, as the states push for more flexibility ahead of a final decision in September.
The policy made it through the Coalition party room on Tuesday, before a “phone hook-up” with state and territory ministers agreed that the draft federal legislation should go out for consultation for the next four weeks.
After this, there will be a further two weeks then given to refining the legislation before a decision can be taken on the implementation of the Guarantee.
But no quarter has been given by the federal government on the conditions put by the states, while the states continue to assert that they will not sign up to the policy as it stands.
“What we need to do … in the next few weeks is really get serious about some of the political issues that are there,” said ACT energy and environment minister Shane Rattenbury in comments on Wednesday morning.
“The states and territories have been raising real concerns for several months now, and I am concerned the federal government is not taking those seriously. And if we don’t address them soon, we will reach a political dead end in a few weeks, that is not going to serve anybody’s purposes.
“We’re looking for a good outcome that delivers better energy prices for consumers and cuts greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of the planet,” he said. “At the moment, the National Energy Guarantee is not delivering on either of those things, nearly as well as it should,” he said.
“(Josh Frydenberg) has got to deliver on the conditions that we’ve put down,” Victoria’s energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio told ABC Radio’s Breakfast program on Wednesday.
“They are eminently sensible, doable, and for the sake of locking in a scheme, a NEG, that can see us through into the long-term, it needs to not lock in failure, and that’s what we’re faced with right now.
“What we’ve got, and it’s been confirmed, is the …emissions target being reached barely within the same year of the NEG operating and you’ve got years – years – when nothing happens, because there is no review that is undertaken. So that is not confidence, that is not investor certainty, the only certainty is that it locks in is low ambition, it… provides no confidence for investment to come through.”