On 3 July 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state and territory leaders at the eighth Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting signed off on a package of energy efficient measures that Mr Rudd says will deliver a nationally consistent, cooperative approach to energy efficiency.

In June this year, we updated you on the draft Energy Efficiency Strategy. The newly signed COAG agreement confirms the draft and a media statement released on 2 July by Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett cites the main inclusions as:

  • Measures to improve the energy efficiency of appliances, such as refrigerators and air conditioners
  • The establishment of nationally consistent energy efficient policy to combat red tape and to help households and businesses invest in new cost-cutting technologies
  • Financial assistance and information and advice to households to reduce energy use
  • Assistance to business and industry to pursue cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities
  • Detailed regulatory assessment in the introduction of CO2 emissions standards for new light vehicles (the Henry Review has been directed to investigate incentives for more fuel efficient cars)
    • A comprehensive 10 year workplan to co-ordinate action nationally. This plan includes:
    • A concentrated national effort to phase out inefficient hot water systems beginning in 2010
    • National legislation for appliance energy ratings and labels
    • A review of regulation will be undertaken to ensure that it is encouraging demand side abatement and smart grid technologies
    • A mandate that all commercial buildings achieve new energy rating standards from 2010 and all new homes from 2011. A process for continuous improvement was also set in place
    • Acceleration of the phasingout of inefficient lighting starting with a ban on incandescent light bulbs from November 2009.

The Australian Energy Market Agreement was also amended by COAG. Energy costs associated with the CPRS and the Renewable Energy Target Scheme will be passed through to consumers where retail energy prices are regulated. The resulting price increases will occur at the same time as the phase out of retail pricecaps where competition has been effective. In this way, peak energy demand growth will be managed more effectively.