On the surface, the Victorian Government’s stubbornness for the National Energy Guarantee looks like politicking and classic state-federal chess-play before an election.
On the other hand, this could be a state government actually putting long-term gain ahead of an immediate sugar hit.
The sugar hit being a $550 reduction in household power bills.
Arguing about increasing long-term emissions targets ahead of reducing power bills would not seem to be a vote-winner — but the position does have its supporters in our region.
Long-time environmentalists Ian Christoe and John Pettigrew believe the state governments are right to question the Federal Government’s target of reducing harmful emissions by 26 per cent.
They believe the target is a long way short of the nation’s international obligation under the Paris Agreement in 2015 and for our region’s future we must make stronger commitments.
We have some big power consumers here with our dairy and food processing industry which has faced troubling increases in rates in recent years.
Any decrease in power bills is a welcome thing.
However, the Victorian Government wants confirmation the emissions reduction target can only ever be increased, it will be set by regulation and will be reset every three years.
But by tying much-needed energy price reductions to an agreement on emissions targets, the whole process risks being delayed at the best or foundering at the worst.
The politicking will continue as it inevitably does when Council of Australian Governments comes into play — meanwhile families and our industries are hurting.
We hope this situation is resolved before the summer and Australia’s high power consumption arrives.