'NEG dead': Morrison to ditch energy legislation, but keep Paris targets

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will declare the National Energy Guarantee, which has divided the coalition, officially dead when parliament returns next week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) poses for a selfie at Frankston.

PM Scott Morrison will formally ditch the National Energy Guarantee legislation when Parliament resumes. Source: AAP

Australia remains committed to meeting its Paris emissions targets even as it moves to dump its national energy policy, the government is urging.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will propose ditching the National Energy Guarantee in a party room meeting when parliament resumes next week, also ruling out enshrining Australia's Paris Agreement commitments in law.

"The government remains committed to meeting its Paris targets," a spokesperson from the prime minister's office told AAP on Saturday.


"Our commitment stands, but we won't be legislating it."

Earlier, Mr Morrison confirmed to The Weekend Australian that the energy policy formed by his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, would be given the flick.

"The NEG is dead, long live reliability guarantee, long live default prices, long live backing new power generation," Mr Morrison said.

"Largely, we are in that position already anyway, so it's not a major shift. But we just need to put to rest any suggestion that this legislation is going ahead."

Speaking to the ABC, Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman conceded he was sorry to see the NEG go, but that all its energy reliability guarantees would remain.

"The first thing to say is we're not tearing up the Paris targets," he said.

There was internal division within the coalition over whether to legislate them or not.

"But our commitment to fulfil them remains," he said.

Even with the dumping of the NEG, Mr Zimmerman said the government still had a strong energy policy focused on driving down prices.

This included giving new powers to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission to sanction and divest energy companies not playing fair.

It also included an investment guarantee to support dispatchable power.

But Labor MP Linda Burney called out Australia's new energy minister, Angus Taylor, for playing down the importance of the Paris Agreement.

"I'm astounded that the government would walk away from trying to land a national energy policy," Ms Burney told the ABC.

"If the government says they're moving to lowering power prices, forgetting renewables, forgetting the National Energy Guarantee - I think is really fraught."

But One Nation leader Pauline Hanson wasted no time in celebrating the NEG's demise.

"Common sense has won," she tweeted.

"Now the government should listen to the people and kill off the Paris agreement as well!"

3 min read
Published 8 September 2018 at 11:24am