The Coalition party room has agreed to support the National Energy Guarantee, following a tense two and a half hour meeting.
Reports are coming out of the meeting that a total of 26 members of the Coalition spoke in favour of the plan; meaning the majority of the party room has endorsed the NEG.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed strong concern about the plan. He and three other MPs — Andrew Hastie, George Christensen and Eric Abetz — have reportedly reserved their position on the legislation, meaning they could cross the floor to vote against it.
The NEG has been designed to reduce energy bills by $550 a year starting in 2020. The claim is under scrutiny from the industry after the release of the proposed NEG modelling.
Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, commented on the next steps for the NEG.
“We’re having telephone hook-up this evening with the states, after which, consistent with their agreement at last Friday’s meeting, the draft exposure of state ledges will be released for comment for a period of a month – and that’s a statutory requirement – and then any necessary amendment also be made.
“The intention is that all states can agree on the final state legislation implemented in the national energy guarantee before Victoria goes into caretaker mode at the end of October.”
The Climate Council has released a statement urging states and territories to continue leading the charge on Australia’s transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy, by implementing their strong policies to encourage renewable energy and storage.
The Australian Energy Council Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said that it was encouraged by the strong support for the NEG in the meeting.
“Consultation on the proposed legislative changes can now begin. Whilst that is underway we urge energy ministers to end more than a decade of policy paralysis by considering the NEG in good faith. The sooner it can be put in place the sooner we can manage Australia’s energy challenges.
“The final design of the NEG addresses the ongoing need to provide a framework for investment certainty to resolve the trilemma of prices, reliability and emissions.
“Political debates about Australia’s emissions reduction targets must not derail the implementation of the NEG framework. A national, bipartisan agreement on the guarantee is essential to its success.
“Australian households and businesses deserve an energy market that can bring down prices, keep the lights on and meet our climate change commitments. The NEG will enable us to address these challenges. It deserves the ongoing support of all energy ministers and the Federal Parliament.”
This story will be updated throughout the day.