The National Energy Guarantee must do the heavy lifting on emissions reduction, says farmers 

The NSW Farmers’ Association, the largest state-based farming representative group in Australia, has called on leaders from across the political spectrum and state and federal jurisdictions, to support the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) framework, and urged the Federal Government to set a robust emissions reduction target for the NEG that will meet Australia’s international obligations on emissions. 

“We have had a decade of uncertainty on energy and climate policy that has contributed to the significant increases in energy and electricity prices. Farmers cannot continue to bear the cost of needless political uncertainty. The NEG is the opportunity to lay this uncertainty to rest,” said Mr Matt Brand, CEO of NSW Farmers.

The Association endorses the market-based NEG framework as a sensible solution in meeting international obligations, which have bipartisan support federally.  

“The NEG mechanism allays many of the concerns around the cost and reliability implications of emissions reduction, dealing with the objectives of affordability, reliability and sustainability as a whole. The Federal Government should be commended for introducing the NEG.”   

The Association has called on the Federal Government to set a robust emissions reduction target that will meet our international obligations and end the uncertainty on energy and climate policy. This would be preferable than state jurisdictions going it alone and setting higher targets.

“Setting  the NEG’s emissions reduction target at 26-28% by 2030 over 2005 levels, will not achieve Australia’s Paris Agreement obligations, which all sides of politics have agreed to.”  

Using the electricity generation sector as the vehicle to meet our Paris Agreement emissions reduction obligations is the most equitable and cost-effective method as all stakeholders use electricity.

“A robust NEG target is about fairness. All electricity users will have to contribute their fair share to the cost of the NEG. Other sectors of the economy, such as farmers and small businesses, are price takers and would not be able to pass on the cost of and imposed emissions reductions scheme. This would be inequitable.”   

“This is not about farmers trying to shift the burden and cost of emissions reduction to other sectors, farmers are heavily exposed to the price of energy.  A typical irrigator pays in excess of $300k in energy costs per annum, and will share in the cost of the NEG.”

The electricity generation sector provides the lowest cost solutions to emissions reduction, which would mean mitigating the cost of emissions reductions on the economy. 

“The ability to use carbon offsets from outside the energy market will further ensure the affordability of the NEG, and provide farmers with incentives for further emissions reduction activities,” Mr Brand concluded.

Date: Friday 6 July 2018
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  |  Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690