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PM talks tough before states energy stoush

by
July 14, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to do whatever it takes to deliver fair energy outcomes for Australians.

As the nation's energy ministers prepare for a stoush over a clean energy target, Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to do whatever it takes to deliver fair energy outcomes for Australians.

The prime minister on Friday was defending government policies aimed at putting downward pressure on power prices, including restricting gas exports to safeguard domestic supply.

"I'm fixing it, I'm dealing with it with tough measures," he told the Seven Network.

"A lot of people have criticised them, said they're too heavy-handed, but there's nothing that will stand in my way in delivering a fair energy outcome for Australians."

Mr Turnbull refused to repeat the warning of Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly that people will die this winter due to the high cost of power, driven by renewables.

"Clearly people who cannot afford to keep themselves warm, particularly if they're old, during the winter obviously face real challenges," the prime minister said.

State and territory ministers meeting in Brisbane will be briefed by members of the Finkel review, electricity market regulators and the consumer watchdog.

The federal government has accepted 49 of the electricity market review's 50 recommendations, but has baulked at a clean energy target.

Some state ministers have said they'll look at implementing a target without federal involvement if the commonwealth doesn't get its act together.

Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has dismissed the threat as political posturing by Labor states.

He believes there's plenty of time because the Finkel report envisaged any new mechanism won't start until 2020.

Industry and business have repeatedly called for an end to energy policy uncertainty.

Mr Frydenberg is also expected to push the states to end bans on gas exploration and extraction at Friday's meeting.

Cabinet colleague Christopher Pyne said state moratoriums were one of the main reasons behind the tripling of gas prices in the past few years.

"That is fuelling higher energy prices," he told Nine Network.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese defended the use of renewable energy.

"Craig Kelly might want to go back to the 1950s with Tony Abbott but he shouldn't ask all Australians to go back and keep him company," he said.

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