Australia news live update: Chris Bowen to meet with state ministers over ‘very serious’ energy crisis | Australian politics

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Bowen to meet with state energy ministers

Bowen says he will convene a meeting with all energy ministers early next week on the current supply situation.

He says the government’s decisions will be based on evidence and good policy not “partisan politics, bickering, climate wars and culture wars”, another dig on the “Taylor era”.

It is my intention to convene a meeting of all energy ministers early next week to be advised by AEMO and AER on the current supply situation on any further necessary actions which may need to be taken by the commonwealth or the states and territories working together cooperatively.

Bowen says he has been encouraged by the state minister’s willingness to work cooperatively.

Queensland records 11 deaths, 4,169 new Covid cases

Queensland Health has released today’s Covid update.

There have been 4,169 new Covid cases reported and 11 deaths.

There are 316 people being treated in hospital with the virus including seven people in ICU.

More on the ‘biggest plant on Earth’

On Twitter, commentors have suggested an Indigenous name for our newly discovered friend.

Can we have an indigenous languages name. They probably have long known about this thing that was just ‘discovered’

— Climate Mum (@ycowan) June 1, 2022

A reader has also suggested Biollante, a kaiju grown from the cells of Godzilla – a plant and a woman.

I have also had feedback that adding “Mc” to something doesn’t make it funny, but considering two separate individuals have suggested “Grassy McGrassface” I’m not sure what to tell them.

Grassy McGrassface?

— Election Sausage 💅🏻 (@RobertEverett4) June 2, 2022

Bowen quizzed again on the gas trigger

Katharine Murphy is back with another question.

You said the trigger is not effective and is not an immediate solution … you said all actions are not being ruled in or out, whatever action [is] necessary … and you’re talking to gas companies to date – is one option that the government could pick up the costs of any redirection of contracted gas?

Bowen says with respect to breaching contracts he won’t comment on the matter, and it’s minister King’s decision to implement the trigger.

This is the situation the previous government has left us in. Under the very complicated circumstances they put in place, it is not an easy trigger to pull and if it was pulled to date it would not have any effect until January.

Andrew Probyn attempts to ask one last question, to which Bowen lobs back: “you do not run the press conference, Andrew”. And off he goes.

Minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen.
Minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Bowen: ‘Matt Canavans of the world’ think coal-fired power outages are the fault of renewables

Bowen is asked whether he would consider the production of more coal-fired power to ease energy price burdens.

He says the “Matt Canavans of the world” think coal-fired power outages are the fault of renewables. But he fails to understand this logic.

If there is advice about sensible action to be taken, I will take [it].

Bowen: If ACCC or regulator needs to take action ‘they will have our full support’

Bowen takes a little swipe at culture wars, which he says won’t influence the government’s policy when asked whether he’s going to get on the blower to chief executives of gas companies.

Minister King is doing that today. She is speaking to the chief executives. I want to say to you, respectfully, that sort of culture war of this is that person’s fault or that person’s fault – we will take any action necessary to ensure proper gas supply. What I won’t do is start unnecessarily demonising particular people or sectors.

If the ACCC needs to take action, they will have our full support. If the Australian Energy Regulator needs to take action, they will have our support. It will be based not on your allegations against individuals, Andrew, [but] on any evidence of wrongdoing or changes in approach that are necessary.

Bowen: ‘Too early’ to know how high energy prices will go

Bowen is asked if he’s been briefed on how much higher energy bills are going to go in the coming weeks and months.

“It is a little too early,” he replies.

The energy market is under enormous pressure. At the moment, this is impacting on wholesale prices in the gas market – thankfully around 80% of gas contracts are done over the longer term. It is not yet, in that regard, impacting on retail prices in a way which – it could be a lot worse. In terms of what impact it is going to have in coming weeks and months, that will be something the regulator briefs me and the state energy ministers on early next week.

But he braces Australians to prepare for long-term pain.

We have to be clear that this does have the potential to be an ongoing issue. This is an immediate challenge for coming days … but the new government is taking, will take any action.

Now to questions:

Bowen is asked, if unwilling to use the gas trigger, what options are on the table to ease price pains.

He says the government will take advice and reiterates he hasn’t ruled anything out, then takes another dig at Taylor.

I have indicated what AEMO has done over the last 24 hours, the caps and gas supply mechanism, is intervention. I welcome appropriate intervention. I have spoken to Mr Westerman this morning and asked him to prepare to give advice to me and the state energy ministers early next week – Monday or Tuesday, depending on the availability of the ministers – on what further actions can be contemplated.

I rule nothing in and nothing out at this point. It will be done carefully, methodically and based on expert advice. I won’t take advice from former minister Taylor who helped to get us into this situation.

Bowen on the gas trigger

Bowen turns to the gas trigger – a mechanism which has been doing the rounds in the media as a possible short term reprieve on energy prices. He says this is false.

I have seen media commentary about the so-called gas trigger … I have seen unnamed members of the former government calling for us to implement it, despite the fact they never did it.

The government will take whatever action is necessary, based on advice. We are not today ruling out or in any particular action going forward over and above what I have announced today.

Bowen says the gas trigger wouldn’t come into force until 1 January and therefore isn’t a short term solution.

It is a supply trigger not a price trigger. For those unnamed anonymous members of the former government who are acting hairy-chested on the way out the door, it is a policy they designed and it is not one designed to deal with the current crisis.

Bowen to meet with state energy ministers

Bowen says he will convene a meeting with all energy ministers early next week on the current supply situation.

He says the government’s decisions will be based on evidence and good policy not “partisan politics, bickering, climate wars and culture wars”, another dig on the “Taylor era”.

It is my intention to convene a meeting of all energy ministers early next week to be advised by AEMO and AER on the current supply situation on any further necessary actions which may need to be taken by the commonwealth or the states and territories working together cooperatively.

Bowen says he has been encouraged by the state minister’s willingness to work cooperatively.

Bowen: the days of ‘kneejerk reactions’ to energy crises are over

Bowen says the days of “kneejerk reactions” to crises and government policy are over. They were the “[Angus] Taylor era”, but they are not the era of this government.

I don’t hold the former government accountable for any particular element of the situation, the serious situation we are facing. I do say this though: The former government’s nine years of denial and delay, their 23 energy policies, their changes of policy approaches have left Australia ill-prepared and our energy markets ill-prepared for the challenges we face today in relation to gas and energy supply.

If we had more storage and renewables and better transmission, we would be much better placed to deal with the current challenges. That is exactly what our Powering Australia plan seeks to implement but it will take some time to implement. As I have said, you don’t overturn nine years of dysfunction, denial and delay overnight. But action is necessary.

He says AEMO has publicly announced it has implemented the gas supply guarantee mechanism and that is already showing some improvement in supply.

The situation is serious but it is being managed by our regulators professionally and it is important that Australians know that the new government has confidence in our regulators … I make clear that the Albanese Labor government will take whatever action is necessary to ensure ongoing reliability and affordability for the energy markets.

But I also make this point: The days of knee-jerk reactions, the days of ad hoc interventions, the days of implementing ill-thought-out policies are the days of the last nine years. They are not the days of this government. This government will take action when necessary and appropriately we will do so, based on expert advice, we will do so cooperatively with our state and territory colleagues. The climate wars are over and the energy wars are over.

Chris Bowen: energy and gas supply situation ‘very serious and challenging’

Now to the energy crisis.

Bowen echoes the treasurer’s comments that Australia’s energy markets are facing a “perfect storm”.

He has spoken to his department, the peak energy body, the treasurer and energy ministers of NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, WA and SA today.

There are a number of factors at play in relation to the very serious and challenging situation with electricity supply and with gas supply in particular. We are facing obviously a geopolitical situation around the world. We are facing some coal fired power closure station outages and some flooding impacts on coal mines and an array of other factors.

Greg Mullins on emissions target: ‘43% is a lot better than 26-28%’

Mullins is asked whether Labor’s target of a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030 recognises the seriousness of the climate crisis.

“Did you speak to Mr Bowen about increasing that target potentially over the next 10 years so that it is more in line with the 75% target you are proposing?”

He replies:

The science is saying that a much stronger target is needed but I must say, 43% is a lot better than 26-28%. We will work on that.



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