This week we saw the lights go out in Queensland.
This disastrous outcome came about because coal fired power generators broke down and gas power plant operators turned themselves off.
They did so because of outdated and inadequate energy market rules which see them paid more if they have to come back into the system than if they continue to operate. We have price gouging masquerading as policy and market rules.
Australians have little if anything to thank the previous LNP government for, in regards to energy. Whether in terms of supply or pricing, nine years of Abbott - Turnbull - Morrison governments have left us high and dry.
Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals bear a high level of responsibility and culpability for the situation in which we find ourselves. Their mindless, resolute opposition to real action on emissions and climate change and their unflinching support for fossil fuels have left the community in a dire situation as we saw in Queensland this week.
Imagine for a moment that the Emissions Trading Scheme introduced by the Gillard government in 2012 was still in operation. Falsely decried by the LNP as a carbon tax, this scheme was already leading to reduced emissions after its first year of operation.
We would have had no petrol price crisis and gas prices would have concerned nobody because electric vehicles would have been far more prevalent and renewables would have been at the heart of our energy system.
After ten wasted years because of the LNP we still do not have a credible energy policy, despite 23 attempts.
It is not rocket science. The age of fossil fuels is rapidly drawing to a close. We need to be brave at all levels of government and grab the opportunities that present themselves.
In what now looks more and more like a prescient move, Glen Innes Severn Council under then Mayor Carol Sparks, declared a climate emergency in November 2019.
Imagine if council had followed through with strategies including supporting the development of a community owned power scheme with shared local battery storage, rather than just looking at its own energy use.
It is still not too late for our Council to grasp the mettle and actually lead in this space.
We have an aging population in the Glen Innes Severn local government area. It will become increasingly difficult for local residents to cope with increasing power bills.
Council could take the initiative and in turn would drive economic growth and skill development at the same time as they helped the community cope with energy costs.
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