The Australian Government has committed $41.5 million in the 2018/19 Budget to help keep the lights on and to put downward pressure on power bills, including a $28.7 million investment over five years from 2017-18 to push ahead with its national energy policy.

The national energy policy includes:

  • The design and development of Australia’s first integrated climate and energy policy in the form of the National Energy Guarantee
  • The implementation of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (Finkel Review)
  • Better forecasting and modelling to ensure the security and resilience of Australia’s energy infrastructure
  • The creation of a consumer access data platform which will empower consumers to get a better deal on their power bill by giving them more information about their energy usage
  • Allowing the Commonwealth to continue leading the work of the COAG Energy Council in pursuing our ambitious energy agenda along with state and territory governments
  • Improving the functioning of Australia’s gas market by following up the Prime Minister’s agreement with LNG exporters and continuing to address market transparency, liquidity and competition issues

The government will invest $12.8 million over six years from 2018-19 in revitalised energy security and resilience assessments as recommended by the Finkel Review, with an additional $4.9 million every three years from 2024-25.

The energy security and resilience assessments include an accelerated examination of Australia’s domestic liquid fuel security to be completed by the end of 2018. Australia’s liquid fuel supply increasingly depends on overseas sources and relies on market forces to maintain reliability and affordability.

The assessment will identify whether the government should take further steps to ensure Australia’s domestic fuel supply is reliable.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) welcomes the Budget announcement, saying that it highlights the significant contribution Australia’s natural gas industry makes to the nation’s economic well-being and energy security.

“Australia’s resources sector is key to raising our national prosperity,” APPEA Chief Executive, Dr Malcolm Roberts, said.

“The Budget has highlighted Australia’s success in becoming a global leader in the world gas market.

“As the Budget points out, Australia remains on track to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas over the next few years and with a large percentage of Australia’s LNG exports sold under long-term contracts which are linked to the price of oil, revenue from this key industry is set to rise. The recent increase in oil prices has coincided with a number of new projects coming online.

“Over time, the sector’s contribution to our economic performance can be expected to become even more important. Much of this success has been underpinned by policy settings that have responded to the drivers for growth in the industry.”

The Commonwealth Government’s Office of the Chief Economist has recently identified more than $230 billion in potential new investment in Australia’s oil and gas industry over the next decade, covering more than 36 projects.

“Our success in converting this potential pool of new investment into actual projects will be dependent on all governments across Australia ensuring that policy and regulatory settings are both efficient and competitive,” Dr Roberts said. 

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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