What I’m hearing
We don’t want to miss out on the economic opportunities and savings for households from the energy transition. We want a sensible plan for the future that protects the people and places we love. We’re sick of climate action being politicised by the major parties and are worried about the future of our kids.
At a time of major transition, Australia has no national energy policy. There is no coordinated, nationwide plan to support businesses and households to sensibly get to the net-zero-emissions future we know we need.
Australia is being left behind by the rest of the world and we are fast approaching a scenario where our exporters face trade barriers as a result of our poor domestic climate policies, all while missing out on global investment in renewable energy technology.
I will champion pragmatic climate and energy policy that reduces household bills and safeguards the futures of the people and places we love.
Electrification is the solution to taking effective action on climate and this is something I will prioritise. See my detailed policy proposal on this below. Our nation has natural advantages that mean the economics of electrification will win in Australia first.
I will drive policies that help households to lower energy and fuel bills by increasing the uptake of renewable energy and electric vehicles. This includes backing the Independent Member for Indi’s Cheaper Home Battery Bill.
I will advocate for a coordinated national energy policy that maps out an accelerated transition to renewable energy sources, saves households and businesses money, and creates new domestic manufacturing and energy export opportunities.
Regulatory burden is often the most expensive component of retail energy prices, so I am looking at reducing costs through regulatory optimisation of transmission and distribution systems, and even our trade policy. We also need to get to work upgrading the grid to support more distributed power generation, and to provide storage for solar in particular.
Improving and updating energy efficiency standards for household appliances is another area where we can make significant gains.
I will oppose any attempt to expand the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s remit beyond renewable energy technologies.
Path to net-zero emissions
I will champion an approach that puts Australia on a path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and capitalises on the first-mover advantage to reap the biggest benefits both economically and environmentally. I will work with the community, industry and experts to see that we achieve the greatest gains possible in emissions reductions ahead of that time, while also looking out for our most vulnerable.
I support changes to the National Construction Code to incorporate stronger energy efficiency stringency standards, as well as bringing forward work on the trajectory for low emissions buildings. Upgrading the energy performance of existing homes and buildings, and ensuring we are building resilient, highly energy efficient ones into the future, will go a long way to reducing both running costs and emissions.
I will back the Member for Warringah Zali Steggall’s Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill, which is the product of extensive consultation and has the support of more than 100 businesses and organisations with almost 100,000 individual sign-ups.
Disaster preparedness and resilience
The Black Summer bushfires followed by the 2022 east-coast flood disaster reinforced the need for better disaster preparedness and resilience in Australia. The local community here in the ACT sees it as an urgent priority for the Federal Government to implement all recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. Government needs to get better at immediate disaster response. We need greater oversight of recovery grant allocations and more equity introduced into the allocation of immediate disaster relief payments.
With Australia's biodiversity facing continued decline and another 34 species listed as threatened in 2021, we need the Federal Government to step up and do more to protect our unique wildlife. A 2022 report by the Auditor-General revealed that the federal environment department needs to do much more to actively monitor and protect our threatened species.
I have also called for a rethink of proposed changes to federal environmental law. Now is not the time to water down federal environmental protection. There is a long-standing and clear expectation across the community that the government must ensure our natural environment is looked after for future generations to enjoy.
We need to include First Nations people in our land management practices. I support:
· doubling the number of Indigenous rangers over 10 years,
· doubling the funding for the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) program over four years,
· creating a fund for ranger training, capacity building, networking, and infrastructure costs, and
· ensuring equal employment opportunities for women rangers by 2030.
Fuel security and electric vehicles
For years, Australia has had poor fuel security. This weakness has been highlighted recently by the war in Ukraine. We consistently fall short of the International Energy Agency’s requirement to hold at least 90 net import days of fuel. Our current reserves are sitting at 68. A recent report by the Australia Institute found that we are reliant on imports for around 91% of fuel consumption. However, the report notes that if all passenger vehicles in Australia were electric, 33% of all oil imports could be replaced with domestic electricity, vastly improving our fuel security.
Transitioning away from a heavy reliance on vehicles fuelled by imported petrol and diesel requires Australia to catch up to other OECD nations and introduce mandatory fuel efficiency standards. This is critical to establishing a truly competitive electric vehicle market in Australia. It puts the onus on vehicle manufacturers and will drive down the cost of electric vehicles for Australians. I want to see the Australian Government’s COMCAR fleet transition to all electric vehicles, which, along with reducing emissions, will have the added benefit of helping support a local second-hand EV market.
Turning Australia On: accelerating the smart-energy transition to cut bills, lower emissions and create jobs
The ACT has a proud history of leadership on renewable energy and climate policy. Canberrans are also no strangers to the devastating realities of a changing climate.
In the face of skyrocketing costs of living, worsening impacts from natural disasters and urgent warnings from the IPCC, our community needs pragmatic policies that address all of these problems.
Australia’s abundant solar, wind, mineral and metal resources – combined with our highly skilled workforce – make us uniquely well placed to seize the advantages of an accelerated transition to a net-zero economy.
The economics of climate action are changing rapidly and this plan enables us to grasp the opportunities from the smart-energy transition to grow and diversify our economy while also playing our part in safeguarding our future.
By 2030, the policies outlined below will save average households over $5,000 on energy and fuel bills, while reducing emissions and pumping millions into the economy, creating a massive pipeline of work for tradespeople and local business.
The policy has been crafted to ensure no household is left behind and that people on low incomes and those renting also benefit from the cost savings.
Most Australians want more climate action. Australia is seen as a laggard, and we are being singled out by our trading partners and world leaders to do more.
Policies implemented by the Howard Government in 2000 made Australia a global leader in rooftop solar. This plan takes that our position to the next level, expanding our leadership to household and vehicle electrification.
Suburb Zero Pilot and the National Electrification Program (NEP)
The smart-energy transition and household electrification will lead to lower bills, fewer emissions and more jobs.
I advocate an Australia-wide National Electrification Program (NEP), starting with a demonstration project in Canberra to create the world’s first fully electrified suburb, to be developed in conjunction with Saul Griffith and Rewiring Australia.
The ‘Suburb Zero’ trial would see $20 million of federal government funding leverage $50 million of private sector capital for a two-year, opt-in pilot program that guarantees participating Canberran households a 20-25 per cent saving per year on their fuel and energy bills.
The program would cover the costs of transitioning participating households to full electrification, including providing them with an electric vehicle (EV), rooftop solar, battery storage, all electric appliances, heat pumps and other appliances.
Households would be able to keep all installations at the end of the trial and have the option of purchasing the EV at a reduced cost.
I will work with the ACT government to make sure the program operates effectively alongside the ACT Sustainable Household Scheme.
The pilot program would create a massive pipeline of work for tradespeople, including huge opportunities to upskill and retrain, as well as ploughing some $2 million worth of cost savings each year on fuel and energy bills back into the local economy. It would also encourage the development of technical, financial and commercial solutions to the energy-system transformation that can inform the design of an Australia-wide NEP.
Research shows the NEP could be rolled out at a cost of around $12 billion over five years – roughly the same amount the Federal Government currently spends every year in annual fossil-fuel subsidies - and would reduce domestic emissions by 42 per cent while creating lower energy bills for households. Under the proposed policy, government investment would only account for a part of that total with the remainder coming from the private sector.
Modelling by Rewiring Australia shows that by 2030, total electrification would create the following benefits for the ACT:
· Savings per average ACT household per year: $5,173
· Total fuel and energy savings for the ACT per year: $912,870,545
· Added local economic stimulus per year from fuel and energy savings: $581,725,807
· Total jobs created: 5,595