QCOSS has a strong interest in developments in the electricity sector because, unlike many other regulated industries, electricity is an essential service that households rely on every day. It is essential for lighting, hot water, food preparation, washing and cleaning, communications, and heating and cooling. Having access to these things in the home in turn supports people to participate in employment, education and social interaction. QCOSS therefore considers it is critical that electricity is affordable and accessible to all Queenslanders.
QCOSS has written a submission to the National Energy Guarantee Draft Detailed Design for Consultation – Commonwealth Elements. This is an important consultation, as it significantly impacts on the emissions and consumer price outcomes of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).
Australia has had ample opportunity to address both affordability and climate issues, but has been held back by inaction at the Federal level. Continuing uncertainty in key energy policies has led to underinvestment in clean technologies. We consider the NEG to be the least favoured option compared to both the Clean Energy Target (CET) as proposed by Finkel, or an Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS).
While we agree that that policy certainty is needed to maintain investment in an energy transition, the policy must be robust, realistic and fair. Our key messages are:
• Climate change is a social justice and equity issue that urgently needs to be addressed.
• The energy transition is already occurring. It needs to be a fast and fair transition.
• QCOSS strongly supports economy wide reductions in green house gas emissions.
• The features of the NEG as proposed will not lead to the green house gas emission reduction needed.
• Locking in an initial 10-year target lacks the flexibility needed. Five-year rolling targets will be more
• The government must ensure that low-income and disadvantage households are not left behind or pay
disproportionately more for the transition.
• The electricity sector can more easily and cheaply reduce emissions and should do the heavy lifting
with more ambitious emission reduction targets than other sectors.
• State based emission reduction and renewable energy targets should be additional.
• We strongly oppose exemptions for Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed (EITE) activities, as this will
only raise prices for all consumers through a cross subsidy. It will be low income and vulnerable
consumers disproportionately carrying the burden.
• We do not support the use of offsets for the electricity sector, as this will unfairly increase costs to
consumers in other sectors, and reduce investment in renewable energy (an aim of the NEG).