The Australian Government has released Energy White Paper 2012 - Australia’s Energy Transformation.

The White Paper sets out the Australian Government's strategic policy framework to guide Australia’s energy transformation to a cleaner and more productive energy economy.

The central objective of the Energy White Paper is to provide the settings to deliver secure, reliable, clean, competitively priced energy to consumers, while building national wealth through the safe and sustainable development of our energy resources.

The 2012 Energy White Paper identifies four priority areas for further action:

  • Delivering better energy market outcomes for consumers;
  • Accelerating Australia’s clean energy outcomes;
  • Developing Australia’s critical energy resources, particularly gas;
  • Strengthening the resilience of Australia’s energy-policy framework.

Launching the Energy White Paper in Melbourne, Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, outlined the massive transformation underway in our energy and energy resource sectors, and the need to ensure the right policy settings are in place to respond to effectively to this change.

“The Energy White Paper is about laying the foundation for sound energy policy development in this country for years to come,” Minister Ferguson said.

“It faces up to major challenges such as rising energy prices, pressures in Australia's gas markets, remaining competitive in the development of our energy resources, maintaining our liquid fuel security and bringing new clean energy technologies to market.

“To meet these challenges, the Australian Government is committed to open and transparent markets that allow competitive pricing, efficient resource allocation and innovation that delivers benefits to consumers and the nation.

“It is also important that all governments maintain an attractive investment environment through efficient, timely and consistent national planning, approval and regulatory processes.

“The Australian Government recognises that rising energy prices are hurting households and businesses and that, while there are no quick fix solutions, carrying out the energy market reforms outlined in the Energy White Paper will help to ease price pressures over the longer-term.

“However, the Australian Government cannot do this alone. Governments at all levels must embrace key reforms, including improving the efficiency of electricity networks, establishing effective competition and removing retail price caps, providing for greater demand-side participation and moving towards cost reflective pricing.

“The key to delivering on this reform agenda – and locking in the benefits to consumers – will depend largely on the agreement that can be reached by the Standing Council on Energy and Resources followed by the Council of Australian Governments later this year.”