Australian Government To Release Energy White Paper (Again)

The Australian Government's Department of Industry is seeking industry and community input on an Energy White Paper, expected to be released in September 2014.  The government will be accepting submissions until the 7th of February 2014, via the website: http://ewp.industry.gov.au/ 

The White Paper will aim to "set out a coherent and integrated approach to energy policy to reduce cost pressures on households and businesses, improve Australia's international competitiveness and grow our export base and economic prosperity."

Focus of the Energy White Paper

As part of the White Paper process, an Issues Paper was released on the 17th of December 2013, which outlines the topics of focus and gives clues to government energy polices. This Issues Paper can be downloaded from the Energy White Paper website above.

The Issues Paper topic headings are as follows:
  • The Security of Energy Supplies
  • Regulatory Reform and Role of Government
  • Growth and Investment
  • Trade and International Relations
  • Workforce Productivity
  • Driving Energy Productivity
  • Alternative and Emerging Energy Sources and Technology

Telling differences between this paper and Howard's 2004 Energy White Paper

Interestingly, the phrase "climate change" is not mentioned once in the whole of the 46 page Issues Paper.  Additionally, mention of the word "environment" mostly appears only in regards to streamlining regulation processes.

"The Government is looking at ways to streamline project approval processes while maintaining environmental safeguards."
"The Government is working to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on business." 
(page 20 of the Issues Paper) 

 

This is in stark contrast to the last energy white paper that was released in 2004 under the Howard government.  The 2004 White Paper had two whole chapters entitled "Climate Change and Energy" as well as "Energy and The Environment". And that paper was criticised for being heavily influenced by fossil fuel producers.

Back in 2008/2009, rumours of a Labour government release of an Energy White Paper were circulating, but nothing eventuated.

By Juliet Guterres |

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