Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has progressed plans for regulation to limit gas exports, and has reaffirmed his views that ‘clean coal’ power plants can receive government funding, in a renewed push to tackle energy price rises for businesses and homeowners.
In a joint press conference with energy minister Matt Canavan, the PM announced on Tuesday the Government “will be implementing our gas regulation that affects exports,” as a result of a shortage of gas on the east coast market, which many blame on the major increase in exports via three new facilities in Queensland.
“One of the factors that is driving electricity and energy prices right now is the high price of gas which has risen very rapidly in large part because of a shortage of gas in the domestic east coast market,” Turnbull said.
“This is a consequence of mistakes that were made by federal Labor and indeed state governments years ago. We are addressing that.
“So the [energy] minister will properly advise, after consultation, once he determines there is a shortage of supply in the domestic market, we’ll be able to impose restrictions on exports on gas from the east coast sufficient to enable the market, the domestic market to be properly supplied.”
As for coal, Turnbull said he would ask the Australian Energy Market Operator to identify the existing and potential loss of base load power.
“We know that we are going to see, over the next years, the next 5-10 years, the retirement of large base load coal-fired generators. These are old plants that are expected to retire,” he said.
“The object is to make sure that affordability and security are protected. And that advice from AEMO will include what, if any, support, including support from governments, is needed if new investment is to be secured.”