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Have your say · Energy & Climate

Energy laws under review: help the transition to clean energy

09 June, 2018

Do you want to have your say on the future of Queensland's energy laws and help facilitate the transition to clean energy? Now is your chance. Queensland Government has opened public consultation on how our state energy laws are functioning and whether amendments are needed to ‘guide future positive outcomes for Queensland's consumers and economy’. Submissions due 19 June by 5pm.

The Queensland Government has opened a public consultation on how our state energy laws are functioning and whether amendments are needed to ‘guide future positive outcomes for Queensland's consumers and economy’. Have your say to help ensure our energy laws facilitate the transition to clean energy. Submissions due 19 June, 5pm.

EDO Qld will be advocating for the review to consider whether our energy laws facilitate the meeting of our emissions reductions targets to avoid dangerous climate change – since the Palaszczuk Government has a commitment to have zero net emissions by 2050. This will take strong action to ensure that we are no longer dependent on fossil fuels and that our renewable energy industry is supported to provide for our energy needs.

We are surprised and disappointed to see that the Issues Paper for the review has not mentioned this commitment to emissions reductions, yet it does mention the target for renewable energy. These two commitments were both introduced to ensure we do our bit to reduce emissions and avoid dangerous climate change; they must be addressed together with reference to each other for them to meet their purpose.  

Queensland can no longer afford to have an ‘energy neutral’ approach to regulating the various sources of our energy. Queensland produces the most greenhouse gas emissions of any jurisdiction in Australia and stationary energy is the largest source of these emissions in our state (43.5%). We must have an energy framework that assists in the phase out of fossil fuels and supports uptake of renewables.  

It is now recognised that gas cannot be the bridge to renewables that it was once promoted as being. Emissions from the liquefied natural gas industry was the major contributor to Australia’s 1.5% rise in greenhouse gas emissions for the year to December 2017. We must be actively working to reduce our reliance on gas as an energy source to ensure we have any chance of reducing our emissions and avoiding dangerous climate change; and yet the Issues Paper makes no mention of this. This is a major flaw in the review which we will be raising with the government.  

The review will examine the following Queensland legislation:

Electricity Act 1994, for which the object is to:

(a) set a framework for all electricity industry participants that promotes efficient, economical and environmentally sound electricity supply and use; and

(b) regulate the electricity industry and electricity use; and

(c) establish a competitive electricity market in line with the national electricity industry reform process; and

(d) ensure that the interests of customers are protected; and

(e) take into account national competition policy requirements.

Gas Supply Act 2003, for which the purposes are to:

(a) promote efficient and economical processed natural gas supply; and

(b) ensure the interests of customers are protected by—

(i)  regulating the distribution services for reticulated processed natural gas; and

(ii) providing for the making of relevant distribution network codes.

Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006 (as it relates to energy), for which the purpose for energy is to give:

(a) relevant energy customers and relevant occupiers of land a timely, effective, independent and just way of—

(i)  referring disputes about particular matters involving energy entities and particular former energy entities; and

(ii) having the disputes investigated and resolved.

To support the review, an Issues Paper has been released (see it here). The Paper explains various motivations behind the review, such as changes to the energy sector which may impact the effectiveness of our energy laws, and ensuring our laws support new technologies and innovation in the energy sector.

The review will not be considering:

  • federal or applied national energy laws (e.g. National Electricity and National Gas Law and Rules and National Energy Retail Law) specifically, but will be considering how well state-based legislation operates in conjunction with the federal frameworks to promote the long term interests of consumers; nor
  • price of energy directly, but will be considering pricing and cost mechanisms.

Submissions are to be sent by 19 June, 5pm:

By email to: energyreview@dnrme.qld.gov.au with the subject line: Review of Queensland Energy Legislation Issues Paper – [your name]

By post to:

Review of Queensland Energy Legislation Issues Paper
Energy Industry Policy – Strategic Futures
Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
PO Box 15456, City East Qld 4002

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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