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Labor challenges Howard to meet key energy policy benchmarks.

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Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Member for Hunter Shadow Minister for Mining, Energy and Forestry

13 June 2004


The government’s long-awaited energy statement on Tuesday must deliver for Australia on three key fronts.

Firstly, it must seriously address global climate change with a long-term, market-based approach to greenhouse emissions reduction.

This means it must go beyond picking technology winners - this is what the Howard government does worst - Manildra, Syntroleum, Methanex, AMC - it is a long list of failures.

In government, Labor is unequivocally committed to ratifying Kyoto and implementing an emissions trading regime.

Secondly, it must specifically address Australia’s declining crude oil, petrol and diesel self-sufficiency and its exposure to instability in the Middle East.

Australia has huge, stranded natural gas and coal reserves which could add decades to Australia's oil self-sufficiency if they were converted to clean liquid transport fuels.

Coal-to-liquids technology is also the key to commercialising clean coal technology for power generation and reducing greenhouse emissions from coal-fired generation.

Thirdly, we need a truly national energy policy integrating all the challenges facing Australia in both transport fuels and stationary energy.

This means delivering the outstanding elements for a truly national electricity market, addressing gas market reform, and taking steps to address Australia’s looming transport fuel crisis and increasing oil import dependency.

This is not a time for yet another taskforce, inquiry or committee - after nearly nine years of deliberation, it is time for the Howard government to deliver.

Only a Labor Government will put the national interest front and centre in terms of Australia’s energy policy.

ENDS Contact: Joel Fitzgibbon 0418 293 372 or Tracey Winters 0408 421 447