The Business Council of Australia has called on Australia to end a decade of dysfunction on energy policy by backing the Turnbull government’s plan to cut power prices.
BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott made the plea to state and territory governments ahead of Friday’s meeting with federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.
She said Australia was seen globally as a ‘nation of ditherers’ for failing to have a coherent energy policy.
‘We need to end this decade of dysfunction and get on and do something,’ Ms Westacott told Sky News on Sunday.
‘The people we’ve got to remember are the people who are going to get a power bill in the next month or so that they can’t pay.’
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wants the federal government to prove it can win support within the coalition partyroom before agreeing to back the national energy guarantee.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott is among a group of backbenchers critical of the plan, with the rogue MPs pushing for new government investment in coal-fired power generation.
‘I think we’re right to say we want the prime minister to demonstrate he’s got the numbers in his own show before we start signing anything,’ Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
He said the reforms would see Victoria and other states partially give up authority to set renewable energy targets.
Ms Westacott took aim at arguments from rogue backbenchers hinting at opposing the plan, as well as green groups agitating for more dramatic emission reduction commitments.
‘You end up doing nothing because you can’t please all those extremes of the debate,’ she said.
Energy Security Board, the guarantee’s designer, released modelling last week showing households could save up to $550 a year on power bills under the plan.
The ESB forecast the amount of coal in the energy generation mix falling from 75 per cent to 60 per cent over the next 11 years, while renewables will grow from 17 per cent to 36 per cent.