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A Joint Statement by
Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment
Senator Warwick Parer, Minister for Resources and Energy

ACCELERATING ENERGY MARKET REFORM TO DELIVER GREENHOUSE BENEFITS


20 November 1997

The Federal Government announced today a major boost to the reform of Australia's energy markets as part of the Prime Minister's Climate Change package.

Acceleration of energy market reform will deliver an additional 1.5 million tonnes per annum in emissions savings in 2010 beyond the already significant savings from existing energy market reform measures, according to Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Resources and Energy Minister, Warwick Parer.

It is expected that efficiency standards for power generation will reduce emissions by 4 million tonnes per annum by 2010.

Senator Hill said efficiency standards will keep Australian fossil fuel combustion at the forefront of world technology and drive innovation and exports.

"We will work with the States and industry to develop and implement by 2000, efficiency standards for fossil fuel electricity generation. This will ensure the adoption of best practice new technology in each fossil fuel class. Standards will also be phased in to encourage emissions reductions for existing capacity.

"In consultation with industry we will develop efficiency standards that are challenging but realistic."

Senator Parer said Australia had already made significant progress in energy market reform with the commencement this year of the national electricity market in south-east Australia and Commonwealth and State agreement this month on new competitive arrangements for access to gas pipelines.

"Consumers are seeing already major benefits from this energy reform process. Almost one third of the $4.5 billion national payoff from the Government's microeconomic reform agenda will come from the electricity and gas sector.

"Through this initiative the Commonwealth is commiting itself to national leadership in this area with the twin goals of economic gains and strengthened environmental performance - a win for jobs and prosperity, and a win for lower greenhouse gas emissions."

On-going reform activity will be accelerated, with a major focus on developing a fully integrated energy market where consumers can choose fairly between gas and electricity, energy efficiency and other energy services.

Ensuring that energy prices more accurately reflect costs will be a major activity.

The Ministers said efficient pricing signals deliver significant greenhouse gains by :

Senator Hill said the Commonwealth will work with the States and Territories to ensure energy markets deliver for consumers and the environment.

"We will be working hard to deliver an energy market which encourages the best technology in the appropriate application."

Senator Parer said the non-transport energy sector currently accounts for around 45 per cent of Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions, and is a major contributor to the growth in emissions.

"It is vital to address emissions from this sector if greenhouse gas emissions are to be tackled effectively."

The Ministers said while renewable energy technologies provide a long term solution to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions in energy supply, existing technology need to play their part over the medium term.

Media enquiries:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) 02 277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Bob Baudino (Senator Parer's office) 02 6277 7440 or 0419 438 818

Commonwealth of Australia