$1.88 billion on action to reduce power bills and keep the lights on

Media release

2 April 2019

The Morrison Government is taking strong action on its commitment to deliver affordable and reliable power.

This Budget will ensure Australian households and businesses continue to benefit from the significant steps we’ve taken over the past year to lower power prices and guarantee 24/7 reliable power that is available when Australians need it.

With a total investment of $1.88 billion, our Budget initiatives include:

  • Investing $1.38 billion in Snowy 2.0 to support new renewable energy for Australia's future energy mix to deliver affordable, reliable power.
  • $56.0 million for Tasmania’s Marinus Link project - the second interconnector between Tasmania and the mainland. Combined with the Battery of the Nation, these projects will help cut power prices and maintain the reliability of the National Electricity Market, create up to 3800 direct and indirect jobs during construction and deliver an economic stimulus of up to $7 billion.
  • $284.4 million for Energy Assistance Payments to age and disability support pensioners, recipients of Carer Payment and Parenting Payment Single, and veterans and their dependants receiving eligible payments from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help with energy bills - $75 for singles and $125 for couples.
  • $79.2 million over six years for energy efficiency standards and programs to reduce costs for businesses, community groups and households.
  • $50.4 million to support feasibility studies for micro-grids in remote and regional areas, including off-grid and ‘edge of electricity grid’ areas where local distributed generation and demand management is used to ensure supply.
  • $13.5 million to support the Underwriting New Generation Investments program which will increase reliable electricity supply and improve wholesale market competition to reduce wholesale electricity prices and support a roadmap for electricity generation opportunities in North and Central Queensland.
  • $3.2 million to establish a Priority Transmission Taskforce which will speed up delivery of transmission projects identified in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 20-year Integrated System Plan.

Putting downward pressure on domestic gas prices while ensuring the security of supply remains a priority. The Government will back jurisdictions that support gas exploration by investing $8.4 million to accelerate the development of the Beetaloo sub-basin.

Our strong fiscal and economic management also allows us to invest in initiatives to reduce our emissions and meet our international commitments, without wrecking the economy and driving power prices up.

Included in the $79.2 million for energy efficiency standards and programs is the new Energy Efficient Communities Program which will provide $50.0 million in grants to eligible businesses and community organisations, helping them to save energy by either installing new equipment or by reviewing and improving their energy management—all contributing to lower power bills.

Eligible small businesses will be able to claim grants of up to $20,000, high-energy using businesses up to $25,000 and community groups up to $12,500.

Other energy efficiency measures include:

  • expanding the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) to improve and increase energy efficiency in the commercial building sector;
  • a review of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program to expand it to more high-energy use buildings;
  • the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings to help homes become more energy efficient; and
  • the introduction of a new energy rating label for heating appliances to help consumers make more informed choices about energy efficiency, which will save households hundreds of dollars each year in heating costs.

We know rising power prices have been impacting household budgets and are stopping small businesses from growing and employing more staff. Our strong budget management is delivering practical measures to support Australian families and back Australian businesses by guaranteeing affordable and reliable power.

Minister for Energy