THE Nationals welcome today’s report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into Australia’s national electricity market.

The report provides a blueprint to reduce household energy bills and secure power reliability. Spanning some 400 pages and providing 56 recommendations, the Liberal and Nationals’ Government will now consider this substantial report in detail.

The Nationals – working with our Liberal colleagues in Government – are committed to securing affordability and reliability within our electricity system.

We understand many families, small and medium businesses and individuals – particularly in rural and regional Australia who are typically energy intensive and focused on food processing and manufacturing – are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of power, and we are determined to take action.

By focusing on affordability and reliability and taking a technology-agnostic approach, The Nationals and the Government have taken ideology out of the debate and replaced it with a practical and pragmatic approach to resolving the energy-affordability issues of many Australians.

This approach means coal can be part of the energy mix and Australians whose jobs, businesses and communities rely on it can have confidence.

The National Energy Guarantee deliberately does not favour any form of electricity generation, meaning there can be a mix, with affordability and reliability the top priorities of our approach.

The Nationals’ position stands in stark contrast to the unachievable renewable energy target of Labor and the Greens, which will not take action on rising household energy bills or give confidence to communities whose jobs and livelihoods rely on coal.

It also delivers the same approach to energy in Mackay as it does in Melbourne – something which cannot be said of Labor Leader Bill Shorten.

We look forward to using the ACCC’s report to work on practical outcomes to reduce energy prices and address reliability issues.

Shane Manning