In October 2016, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) tasked the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel to conduct an independent review of the national electricity market to take stock of the current security and reliability and to provide advice to government s on a coordinated, national reform blueprint. This was after the blackout in South Australia, and in the midst of heavy debate about energy supply, use of renewables, and the rising costs to business and community.
On the 9 June the report was made public. It contains over 200 pages, with key recommendations, including the development of a Clean Energy Target, better system planning, better data, cyber threat awareness and work force preparation.
The initial response across business, unions, and community groups, including ACOSS, has been preparedness to consider the recommendations and work through the process carefully. There is agreement that we do have a problem.
Mark Butler and Bill Shorten have made it clear that we will be part of a collective response, acknowledging the professional and collective work of Dr Finkel and the team.
Malcolm Turnbull has defended the government’s record, while George Brandis has praised the diversity of thought within the Coalition, and agreed to listen to the science.
The need for the solid defence of diversity was the outburst of criticism from members of the LNP from the moment that the report was released. Tony Abbot led the response, comparing the Finkel report to the Magic Pudding, Eric Abetz questioned the modelling and the LNP caucus room required extra meetings to develop a position, as yet unknown, though there will be listening to the science.
No report will be universally agreed, but we now have challenge and an expectation from the community that the wasteful and vicious climate wars will be ended and that the Blueprint will be considered.
Claire Moore, Senator for Queensland
A copy of the report can be accessed at http://www.environment.gov.au/energy/national-electricity-market-review