The Coal-Fired Funding Prohibition Bill (2017) proposes to prohibit the Commonwealth government or its agencies from funding the refurbishment, building or purchase, or assisting in the transfer of ownership, of a coal-fired power station. The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) does not support this Bill as it violates the principle of technological neutrality.
The appropriate role of the government in the energy market is to provide the conditions, such as secure property rights, within which different energy generators offering different forms of energy generation can compete in an open and free market. The ultimate composition of energy generation ought not be the role of policy makers, but reflect the underlying preferences of consumers. A position more consistent with technological neutrality would be to prohibit the Commonwealth government or its agencies from funding the refurbishment, building or purchase, or assisting in the transfer of ownership, of all forms of energy generation, including wind, solar, coalfired, gas-fired, hydro, and nuclear.
This report recommends:
- The Bill either be withdrawn, or the prohibition on funding the refurbishment, building or purchase, or assisting in the transfer of ownership be extended to all forms of energy generation.
- The government adopt a policy of technological neutrality.
- The government withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
- The government remove the ban on the development of nuclear energy generation in Australia.
- The government reduce regulation and red tape on the coal and gas industries, including the repeal of Section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999.
- The government should not extend the RET beyond 2020, and should remove all existing contracts for solar and wind energy generators which have been made under the RET.
- State governments should reduce regulatory restrictions on the development and exploration of gas