While electricity and gas sectors have many different issues to tackle, they are also joined at the hip in a number of areas and both are seriously affected by a lack of focus on strategic directions by the mainstream parties.
The critical factors are leadership, a lack of accountability by governments for actions they pursue or fail to pursue and demonstrated incapacity to make decisions about energy security, affordability and sustainability in the long-term interests of consumers as a whole rather than for narrow political advantage.
The University of Queensland Energy Initiative recently accused the body politic of pursuing “simple soundbite solutions” rather than resilient policy and the evidence that this is right is all around us in the increasingly frustrated comments of investors and consumer NGOs.
The Energy Policy Institute of Australia (EPIA) has laid the responsibility for this situation at the feet of the nine first ministers and called for them, via the Council of Australian Government, to hold to account their energy ministers, meeting as the CoAG Energy Council, for developing a long-term energy vision.
The Energy Council’s next meeting is in early December and it will have reports on energy market strategic directions (from the Australian Energy Market Commission) and market governance (by a panel chaired by Michael Vertigan) before it.