Cheap Energy Target for Australia


As recently as 2000, Australians enjoyed some of the lowest electricity prices in the developed world.

With 33% of the world’s Uranium and over 1,000 years of economically recoverable coal, Australians blessed with all the conditions for cheap and reliable power that could provide Aussie families with the means to ensure a comfortable life and a bright future, while supercharging our economy and driving our businesses.

Yet years of failed government policy and poor regulatory invention have left us with some of the world’s highest electricity prices today.

Instead of prioritising the needs of ordinary Australians, our politicians have prioritised lofty renewable energy targets, an ideologically-driven ban on nuclear power and heavy corporate handouts to wind and solar energy that cost taxpayers billions annually while delivering unreliable and expensive energy and forcing our cheap coal power stations into early retirement.

In the process, they have slammed families and pensioners struggling to make ends meet while driving business and quality jobs overseas to countries with smarter and more compassionate energy policies than ours.

It’s time to say no more!

The Cheap Energy Target is a policy initiative from the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance that aims to cut our electricity bills down to AT LEAST the average for OECD nations.

A 6-point solution to lower power bills for Australian families and businesses

  1. Lift the ban on developing clean and cheap nuclear power

    Australia holds 30% of the world’s Uranium,[1] and nearly 20% of the world’s Thorium. As recently as 2006, a Howard government report found that nuclear power is a viable option for Australia[2] – and yet the government continues to pursue a ban on this cheap, reliable and clean energy technology.

    1 kg of Uranium produces over 2 million times the energy contained in 1 kg of coal,[3] and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that a nuclear power plant’s carbon footprint is barely 25% that of a solar plant.[4]

    New generation reactors are capable of producing more energy with only a fraction of the waste. The UK, Russia, China and India are just a few countries investing in new nuclear power stations, while Australia is in danger of being permanently left behind.

    It’s time to legalise and encourage investment in this innovative technology that holds immense potential for our future.

  2. Reduce overreliance on heavily subsidised, expensive and unreliable wind and solar as well as expensive natural gas

    Commonwealth and State governments spent over $3.2 billion AUD on subsidies for solar and wind power in 2016 alone. These subsidies hurt both taxpayers and consumers while driving coal-fired power stations that once provided Australia with some of the developed world’s cheapest electricity, into premature retirement.

    Wind and solar power are intermittent and inefficient energy sources that are reliant on the backup of fossil fuels for base-load power. Subsidies to renewables have distorted the energy market by discouraging investment in coal-fired power in Australia, whilst the rest of the world - from Germany to Thailand, continue to invest in new coal power stations and upgrades to existing facilities that deliver more energy with lesser carbon emissions.

    The closure of coal-fired power stations has left large parts of Australia vulnerable to rolling blackouts and highly volatile wholesale electricity prices. It has increased our reliance on natural gas - an expensive fossil fuel, with much of its domestic reserves out of reach due to anti-fracking regulations.

    Removing subsidies and corporate handouts to wind and solar will allow energy sources compete on an equal footing, ensuring that private investment is delivered to the most efficient, cost-effective and reliable sources that connote lower electricity bills and energy security for households nationwide.

  3. Abolish the Renewable Energy Target

    The evidence shows that Renewable Energy Targets (RETs) discourage investment, drive up prices, leave our businesses less competitive and are also unlikely to make a significant impact on climate change. The Turnbull government intends to abolish the RET by 2022. Why wait? Abolishing it now will deliver immense benefits for Australian businesses and families.

  4. Withdraw from the Paris Accord.

    The Paris Accord imposes major obligations on some countries such as Australia and Germany, whilst imposing little to no obligation to tangibly reduce emissions on other nations such as China and India. This is fundamentally unfair as Australia accounts for barely 1.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions,[5] with an estimated decline to 1% by 2100.[6]

    Even if ALL original Paris Accord signatories including the USA (which rescinded the accord in 2017), met their obligations – there will not be a decrease in global temperatures.[7] Studies have also shown that the greenhouse gas concentrations which would hypothetically be avoided should countries meet their Paris Accord obligations by 2100, will be reached shortly thereafter even if Paris Accord obligations are met.[8]

    Australia should follow the example of the USA by withdrawing from this unfair, damaging and ineffective global instrument to prioritise the welfare of our own citizens.

  5. Privatise transmission and distribution networks to lower prices for consumers

    Evidence from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) indicates that the ACT which relies on a fully privatised network, pays lower prices than any other state or territory in the National Energy Market (NSW, VIC, SA, ACT, TAS, QLD).[9]

    Victoria’s network has been fully privatised since the 1990s and the state, until recently, enjoyed lower electricity prices than NSW, Queensland and Tasmania which possess fully or partly public-owned networks.

    Although South Australia, where the power network has been privatised since the 1990s, reports higher energy prices – this is primarily due to the state’s unique regulatory environment and heavy-handed green schemes and regulations.

    Privatised networks lower costs for consumers and promote efficiency. The Queensland Independent Review Panel found that privately owned state and territory networks are more efficient than the publicly-owned networks,[10] and Deloitte Access Economics has also found that private networks also incur lower labour costs.[11]

  6. Prioritise energy rebates for those who need it the most.

    For example, the ‘family tax benefit’ A and B are not adequately means tested and are available to high-income individuals earning up to $150,000 a year. These benefits come with an energy rebate.

    The savings incurred by lowering the eligibility threshold from $150,000 to $40,000 can be used to supplement and bolster the value of existing rebates for pensioners, those suffering from serious illness, the disabled and the poor to whom the rebate will provide a much greater benefit.

[1] Geoscience Australia,, 2018 

[2] Switkowski, Z. (2006). Uranium mining, processing and nuclear energy: Opportunities for Australia? Issues, (77), 45.


[4] Bruckner, T., Fulton, L., & Hertwich, E. (2014). Annex III: Technology-specific Cost and Performance Parameters. IPCC, Fifth Assessment Report. Geneva, Switzerland.

[5] Commonwealth Department of Environment, “Australia’s 2030 Climate Change Target”, (2015), available at   

[6] Garnuat, Ross, “The Garnuat Climate Change Review”, Canberra, Australia, (November 2010), Available at    

[7] Lomborg, Bjorn. "Impact of current climate proposals." Global Policy 7.1 (2016): 109-118.   

[8] Ibid.

[9] Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Fact Check, updated 3 March 2016.   

[10] Queensland Government, Independent Review Panel on Network Costs, Electricity Network Costs Review, Final Report, June 2014, p. 102. 

[11] Deloitte Access Economics, NSW distribution network service providers labour analysis, April 2015, p. ii; Deloitte Access Economics, Queensland distribution network service providers – opex performance analysis, 24 April 2015, p. viii. 



We, the undersigned, call for the adoption of policies that will deliver a Cheap Energy Target for Australia: by lowering the average cost of electricity for households and businesses to the average of our fellow OECD nations.

We are concerned and upset by the fact that Australians like us pay some of the highest electricity bills in the developed world, when the opposite was the case as recently as 18 years ago.

High electricity prices punish families and businesses while undermining our international productivity and competitiveness. They have already driven businesses, factories and jobs overseas to countries like the US where electricity is cheaper. They also cut deeply into household budgets and hurt those in our society who are most vulnerable, including pensioners, those on disability support and the working poor.  

Australia holds 30% of the world's Uranium and is a leading exporter of coal. When Uranium is a clean and cheap energy source and Australian coal is proven to be cleaner than coal mined elsewhere, it is absurd that government intervention and policy has prevented our own citizens from harnessing the power of these natural resources by banning the creation of nuclear plants and creating conditions that have discouraged private investment in coal. It is further absurd that state and federal governments are providing enormous taxpayer-funded subsidy to intermittent, unreliable and expensive wind and solar energy that relies on expensive natural gas as a backup to ensure its viability. 

We therefore call on our representatives and policy makers to adopt the following six-point solution:

  1. Lift the ban on developing clean and cheap nuclear power

  2. Reduce overreliance on heavily subsidised, expensive and unreliable wind and solar as well as expensive natural gas

  3. Abolish the Renewable Energy Target

  4. Withdraw from the Paris Accord

  5. Privatise transmission and distribution networks to lower prices for consumers

  6. Prioritise energy rebates for those who need it the most: eg. means test the family tax benefit A and B in order to fund rebates to the poor, pensioners, those on disability and others in need
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