Australia is a resource-rich country that once enjoyed cheap and reliable energy. This natural advantage was a bedrock of Australia's economy, but by 2017 we were saddled with some of the highest prices in the world.
High electricity prices not only increase the basic cost of living for households, they also increase costs for businesses and stifle economic growth.
The major causes of these runaway prices are clear – overregulation, climate alarmist ideology, irrational prohibition of some energy sources and low business confidence in investment as a result. These problems seem set to get even worse with new “net-zero emissions” targets and associated regulations.
- Free market energy. Government funding, ownership and regulation of energy sources only distort the market and reduce business confidence. All sources of energy should compete in the market on their own merits of reliability and cost.
- Certainty for the energy industry. The risk of reckless future regulations is preventing investment in new energy production. Government should be required to pay regulatory compensation in cases where new regulation directly harms the value of private property.
- No net-zero emissions target. This target is an absurd extension of climate alarmist ideology that will have grave effects on living standards for all Australians if it is pursued.
- Abolish the renewable energy target (RET). The RET is a significant contributor to Australia’s runaway electricity prices. It has created a muddled and complex regulatory framework and taken away the incentive for investment into cheaper energy sources.
Nuclear energy is the cleanest, safest and most reliable means of making grid-scale electricity. It’s also one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide, generates 99% less waste than solar energy, and has comparatively tiny land requirements.
Australia recently signed a historic agreement with the United States and United Kingdom that will see us acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. We support that agreement, but nuclear-powered submarines need nuclear energy, which requires uranium. The good news is that Australia is already the world’s third largest uranium miner despite existing restrictions, with twice the proven uranium reserves of any other nation.
Today there are 440 operating nuclear power-plants in world and another 164 either being built or planned. Over 70% of French electricity is generated by nuclear energy and over a dozen other nations generate more than 20% of their electricity from nuclear energy.
Australia has all the ingredients to be a world leader in nuclear energy. There have been three government inquiries in recent years that recommended a nuclear energy industry, but cowardly politicians lack the will to start.
- Repeal the blanket ban on nuclear energy in Australia. This ban is an anachronistic relic that only serves to stifle innovation and drive up electricity costs. Australia should license modern nuclear power plants based on international best practice.
- Lift state government bans on uranium mining. Uranium is a valuable resource that is in abundance in Australia. Our economy should be benefitting from this natural advantage.
- Make regulations consistent. Nuclear energy should be given equal treatment with other low carbon technologies, and radiation in the nuclear energy sector should not be regulated more harshly than radiation in other sectors.
- Safe waste storage industry. Owners of nuclear power plants should be responsible for the cost of recycling, storing and disposing of waste as necessary. This creates opportunities for new industries. With large endowment of geologically stable land, and a strong track record in safety, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory could become world leaders in the field of safe storage of nuclear waste.