New energy minister outlines power plan

Angus Taylor being sworn in as Energy Minister by Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove

Australia’s new Energy Minister Angus Taylor has outlined his plan to reduce electricity prices in his first speech in the role.

Speaking at a business summit in Sydney, Mr Taylor outlined plans to end price gouging and create more competition.

“My number one priority is very very simple – to reduce power prices and keep the lights on,” he said.

“There will be no ideology, no grand gestures, just a pragmatic focus on solutions.”

He likened energy companies to banks and said consumers’ trust needed to be regained.

“The failure to focus on the basics, the electricity sector, like the banks, needs to re-establish its credibility, or social licence, with the community,” Mr Taylor said.

The Turnbull Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) collapsed last week, and the new energy minister has made price and reliability a priority – above climate.

Dubbed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the “Minister for lowering power prices”, Mr Taylor rejected claims he’s a “climate sceptic”.

“I’m not sceptical about climate science,” he said.

“But I am and have been for many years, deeply sceptical about the economics of so many of the emission reduction schemes dreamed up by vested interest, tech contracts and politicians around the world.

“None of my concerns justify support for expensive programs that deliver little else other than funnelling consumers’ hard-earned money into vested interests, resulting in increased prices and reduced reliability.”