Member for Morwell Russell Northe has called upon the State Government to provide transparency and clarity around its energy policy, and specifically the content of its Emission Reduction Target plans to try and provide certainty around electricity supply, jobs and investment.
“The State Government has in recent years, introduced a raft of legislative changes that affect our energy industry and workers including the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) that the Government has legislated to be 50% by 2030” Mr Northe began.
“VRET alone has created much uncertainty for Latrobe Valley based power generators but in addition, there is great anticipation as to the detail of the State Governments Emission Reductions Targets and what impact the decisions made within these target settings will ultimately be for the Latrobe Valley economy and community”.
“Unfortunately, it seems the Government knows what these targets are, as they have been sitting on a report since March of this year but have failed to reveal any information despite being required to table their decision within 10 Parliament sitting days from 31 March 2020” Mr Northe continued.
The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning’s website states; “Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017 establishes a long-term target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Act also requires five yearly interim emissions reduction targets to be set to keep Victoria on track to meet this long-term target. The first two interim targets –for 2025 and 2030 – must be determined by 31 March 2020 and the decision must betabled in Parliament within 10 sitting days”.
“I have previously sought information from the Government many times now, to show their rationale and modelling for their energy policy decision-making – to little avail. This continued culture of providing limited detail around their choices is frustrating and creating anxiety for many in the Latrobe Valley community given this is where the biggest impact of those decisions will likely occur” Mr Northe said.
“The Interim Emissions Targets for 2021-25 and 2026-30 were set on 31 March 2020 as required by the Climate Change Act 2017 but it seems only the Government is privy to the detail”.
“As part of the Interim Emission Target policy the first set of associated sector pledges were to be determined on 1 August 2020 and in accordance with the requirements of the Act, but they also remain unreleased” Mr Northe continued.
“These delays cause flow on confusion and uncertainty at a time when business, industry and community can ill-afford”.
“The Government have failed to provide any information or detail as to the status of its targets despite missing multiple timelines. Surely the Minister can at the very least provide some information as to when they will release its data and there appears to have been little or no dialogue with industry or community on same” Mr Northe lamented.
Mr Northe said “Whilst I understand that during the COVID-19 crisis it has been difficult for the Government to stay on track with its deliverables, I also think that a policy which has the potential to have a detrimental effect on our community must be transparently communicated to those in my community”.
“My real fear is that the Governments VRET targets in addition to decisions yet to be announced around their interim emission targets could well hasten a premature closure of power stations within the Latrobe Valley” Mr Northe said.
“This is something we can ill-afford from an employment, economic, security of supply and pricing perspective in a local and Victorian sense, particularly given the challenges associated with COVID-19”.
“Due to the distinct lack of direction in the sector, there are also investment opportunities that could potentially proceed if the industry had indeed some surety of the policy environment. The current investor uncertainty impacts upon the region’s abilities to adequately plan “now” for the future” Mr Northe continued.
“I’m concerned that industries in our State which are already stretched economically, could have a whole new set of expensive regulatory requirements placed upon them within these imposed sector pledges. Radical changes and difficult challenges are not what these large-scale employers need, right now” Mr Northe cautioned.
This sitting week, Mr Northe has once again, raised questions relating to the status of the Government’s proposed emission reduction target plans and the impacts upon affected industries – these are attached for your information.
“The activity towards the 2025 targets is meant to come into effect by 2021 – less than 90 days away. This does not provide a clear path for the sector, nor a clear path for the Latrobe Valley community” Mr Northe concluded.
Previous Questions Mr. Northe has put to the Minister for Energy regarding this issue;
Victorian Renewable Energy Target legislation information;
Question on Notice | Russell Northe | 12 October 2020
The Member for Morwell Russell Northe to ask the Minister for Energy:
In relation to the Victorian Governments Energy policy;
1. When is the Government planning to table their Victorian Interim Emissions Reduction Targets, legislatively obligated to be determined at 31 March 2020?
2. When is the Government planning to publicly announce their TAKE2 climate change sector pledges, legislatively obligated to be determined by 1 August 2020? 3. When is the Government planning to release its final Climate Change Strategy due 31 October 2020? 4. Will the Government be changing any elements of these policy measures, following the effects of COVID-19 on the economy? 5. If yes, what elements will be subject to change?
3. When is the Government planning to release its final Climate Change Strategy due 31 October 2020? 4. Will the Government be changing any elements of these policy measures, following the effects of COVID-19 on the economy? 5. If yes, what elements will be subject to change?
4. Will the Government be changing any elements of these policy measures, following the effects of COVID-19 on the economy?
5. If yes, what elements will be subject to change?
6. Will the Government consult again with the industries that are specifically affected by the Interim targets, TAKE2 sector pledges, and Climate Change Strategy, before they are tabled or released?
7. How does the Government plan to provide clarity and certainty for these industries during this industry reform in a post COVID-19 environment?