Overwhelming support for NEG in Coalition party room

The Coalition party room has endorsed the Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee following a morning of debate.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after a lengthy two-hour meeting, the policy received “overwhelming support” from the room.

This is despite the efforts of former PM Tony Abbott to derail the policy.

Mr Abbott and three colleagues — Andrew Hastie, George Christensen and Eric Abetz — have reserved their position on the legislation, meaning they could cross the floor to vote against it.

The PM said the policy had the “broadest support of any energy policy” in his time in politics.

“We’ve got to bring an end to the years of ideology and idiocy that have been a curse on energy policy for too long,” he said.

“The concerns were expressed across the board about prices, and we share that, everything we’re doing is seeking to bring down energy prices.

“What we are seeing already is our policies having the result of bringing down retail prices, big reductions thanks to our policies in wholesale generation costs and we expect to see more and we will do more – but our commitment is to use every single lever available to us, one of which is the NEG, to bring down energy prices.”

On Monday,federal, state and territory energy ministers agreed to release the exposure draft of the National Electricity Law amendments that will implement the NEG, following a COAG Energy Council teleconference on August 14.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg commented on the next steps for the NEG.

“We’re having telephone hook-up this evening with the states, after which, consistent with their agreement at last Friday’s meeting, the draft exposure of state ledges will be released for comment for a period of a month – and that’s a statutory requirement – and then any necessary amendment also be made,” he said.

“The intention is that all states can agree on the final state legislation implemented in the national energy guarantee before Victoria goes into caretaker mode at the end of October.”

Legislation will be introduced in a fortnight.

During the press conference following the meeting, Mr Turnbull was asked about comments from Delta Electricity about pursuing a coal-fired power station.

“We welcome more generation, particularly more dispatchable generation, more firmed or baseload generation and, of course, a coal-fired power station heli plant would meet that description, but so would other technologies,” he said.