23 February 2021
Independent Senator Rex Patrick has today proposed an amendment to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Amendment (Grid Reliability Fund) Bill 2020.
Senator Patrick agrees that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) should be given more resources to invest in an orderly, sensible energy transition towards clean renewables plus storage. However, he will not vote for a bill that corrupts the CEFC’s mandate and opens the door to political influence.
“It is unacceptable for the Government to demand that the Senate open the door to a ‘gas-fired recovery’ when it has shown a total lack of transparency and accountability in relation to its energy policies," Senator Patrick said. The role of the Senate is to serve the people it represents, not boost the interests of a few big corporate donors who would line their pockets from government underwriting new gas capacity.”
“My proposed amendment would lock in the extra $1 billion for the Grid Reliability Fund and retains the CEFC’s independence from political influence. It would also enhance parliamentary oversight by ensuring that the CEFC investment mandate is a disallowable instrument.”
“The Australian Energy Market Operator’s latest Integrated System Plan proves that no new gas capacity is required to meet our future energy needs. So, whilst I agree that gas remains an essential part of the current and future energy mix, we don’t need to waste taxpayer’s money underwriting new gas infrastructure which is unlikely to provide a return on investment or reduce power prices.”
“Further, it will be impossible for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050 if the Senate allows the Government to meddle in the energy market by backing new gas infrastructure. The Government claims to be ‘technology neutral’, but their actions reveal a distinct preference for fossil fuels. The writing is on the wall for fossil fuels. The Government must listen to private investment and growing international pressure for climate change action and put the interests of everyday Australians over corporate donors."