b'Canberra observed Canberra observedas a transition fuel, for the next 20 yearsAustralian governments had failed to or so, but for Morrison, his commitmentprotect Australias unique wildlife and to 1,000 MW of new dispatchablehabitats and recommended an overhaul capacity by the summer of 2023-24,of the laws to make the countrys systems with final investment decisions by theof environmental protection more end of April 2021 means that Australiaeffective. He also recommended the will be locked into further decades ofdevolution of approval powers to the greenhouse gas emissions from fossilstates along with the introduction of fuels. This interference in the electricitynational environmental standards and an generating market is likely to discourageindependent regulator to enforce thelaw.future investment in renewable energy generation and storage. And the cost ofIn July 2020, the environment the gas-generated electricity is unknown. minister, Sussan Ley, rejected the David Denham AMrecommendation of an independent Associate Editor for GovernmentEarlier this year the Australian Energyregulator, but said she would put a denham1@iinet.net.au Market Operator indicated a need for onlyBill to parliament that streamlined about 155 MW of dispatchable electricitythe approval process and promised to by 2023, and it has been reported thatintroduce prototype standards to ensure COVID-19 tests our Federation AGL is going to install a 100 MW batteryenvironmental protection at the same as part of a larger battery farm at thetime. However, the bill introduced in The National Cabinet convened by PrimeLiddell Power Station site. Could theAugust was reported to be a near replica Minister Morrison has worked well duringPrime Minister be advocating a policy toof failed one-stop-shop legislation the national challenge of the persistentlytackle a problem that does not exist? introduced under Tony Abbotts contagious COVID-19 virus. There havegovernment. It contained no reference to been a few disagreements about virus hotIn his 5000-word speech Morrison neverany of Samuels other recommendations, spots, lock downs and border controls,mentioned climate change or globalincluding national standards. It passed but, in the future, these will be forgotten. warming, nor did he indicate how hethe lower house in August after the arrived at the 1000 MW number or how thiscoalition gagged debate.Of longer-term consequence are theinvestment will affect our emissions target.relations between the CommonwealthIt was also reported that the Office of and the States and Territories. ForThere needs to be a price on carbonParliamentary Counsel began drafting example, the Australian Government isemissions and a plan to reduce ourthe changes to the legislation on 19 responsible for aged care facilities, andreliance on fossil fuels. Consider the SantosJune, 11 days before the Government yet the States and Territories providesituation regarding the depleted Moombareceived the interim report of the review health care. The Australian Governmentgas field and whether it can be used tothe national environment laws. The final is responsible for border control, and yetstore CO 2 . With a price on carbon thereport should be released in October and the States have to provide the resourceseconomic value can be estimated. Withoutthen it will probably be up to the Senate to manage quarantine arrangements andit, the project is only of research interest. to deal with any associated legislation. NSW Health was blamed for allowingHowever, without legislated national the Ruby Princess passengers disembarkenvironmental standards, it is difficult to in Sydney. The Federation is supposedCoalition plans to dilutesee how any compliance could work.to allow free and unfettered trade andenvironmental controlspassage within Australia, and yet the States and the NT closed their borders. Clean air and water, bushfires,Is oil going the same way as coal?biodiversity of flora and fauna and a COVID-19, and whatever otherhealthy environment are national issuesCOVID-19 has played havoc with oil pandemics may follow, do notand critical for a healthy economy.supply and its price. Travel has been recognise borders on maps, but usuallyOne might have thought that thereduced everywhere, and now there attack in clusters. The Prime MinisterAustralian Government should haveis now a glut of oil. Figure 1 shows the tried to get agreement over thethe responsibility for these matters. Butdaily oil price from 2010-20 of West Texas definition of a hot spot in the Nationalthat is not what the current coalitioncrude. Notice that the price had declined Cabinet but failed. He should persistgovernment thinks. It wants them all sentfrom 2014, before the COVID-19 effect.because that is probably the bestback to the States and Territories.way to deal with a pandemic, withoutThe oversupply of oil was already there closing borders, and we know thatIn October 2019 Professor Graemeand COVID-19 just hammered this home. COVID-19 is going to be with us for atSamuel AC, an expertise in public policyIs this pattern similar to what we saw least another year. in economic reform and regulation,with the price of coal?was appointed to chair a review of theMineral exploration investment is Environment Protection and Biodiversitycurrently performing well on the back of Morrison goes for gas Conservation (EPBC) Act.gold (Figure 2), but offshore petroleum Many energy and climate changeHis interim report delivered to theexploration in the June quarter fell to analysts acknowledge the need for gasGovernment on 30 June found that:a seasonally adjusted $67 million. That OCTOBER 2020 PREVIEW 30'