Sparks fly in Brisbane as State and Federal Energy Ministers debate findings of Finkel Report

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Things are hotting up in Brisbane as Federal and State Energy Ministers meet at the COAG Energy Council to try and hammer out an agreement on the Clean Energy Target suggested in the Finkel Energy Review.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to do whatever it takes to give Australians a fair deal on energy. In the leadup to the meeting, Mr Turnbull defended the coalition government’s policies and decisions to put downward pressure on prices.

Speaking to 7 News, he said: “I’m fixing it, I’m dealing with it with tough measures,” he told the Seven Network. A lot of people have criticised them, said they’re too heavy-handed, but there’s nothing that will stand in my way in delivering a fair energy outcome for Australians.”

Labor states will go it alone if no agreement on Finkel Report is reached

But Labor Ministers are having none of it, Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the Labor states would take matters into their own hands if an agreement couldn’t be reached.

“In the absence of a resolution today, it will be the states here who will be writing to the Australian Energy Market Commission, and asking them to get design work started on a Clean Energy Target,” Mr Bailey told reporters in Brisbane.

His South Australian counterpart Tom Koutsantonis agreed, but said he believed Mr Frydenberg was trying to bring the “divided” coalition together on the issue.

“So what we’re saying is let’s get on with the work, we can’t wait for you to fix your internal issues,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

Finkel Report calls for measures in place by 2020 – Frydenberg

But Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has urged states not to go it alone. “National solutions are required to national problems,” he told Fairfax Media.

“One of the real challenges we have at the moment is that the states have been going it alone creating inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the system.”

The federal government has accepted 49 of the electricity market review’s 50 recommendations, but has baulked at a clean energy target.

Mr Frydenberg said he believes there’s plenty of time because the Finkel report envisaged any new mechanism won’t start until 2020.

Industry and business have repeatedly called for an end to energy policy uncertainty.

Mr Frydenberg is also expected to push the states to end bans on gas exploration and extraction at Friday’s meeting.

More as we get it.

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