Energy disadvantage in Australia: policy obstacles and opportunities

Energy disadvantage in Australia: policy obstacles and opportunities


Kate Crowley and Oshan Jayawardena

Organisation of Presenter:

University of Tasmania, Australia


This paper links energy and climate change with disadvantage in Australia and explores the dual disadvantage of steeply rising electricity prices and increasing climate change impacts. It reviews the potential of energy policy and climate policy to alleviate disadvantage, over the short and longer term, and suggests that renewable energy in particular has a role to play.  However, the prospect of renewable energy policy advances in Australia is constrained, it is found, by the politicised nature of climate policy more broadly, the influence of the fossil fuel lobby, and the predisposition of current governmental policy. Drawing upon the policy streams and advocacy coalition theories of policy change, the paper assesses the political and ideological bases of this constraint, and the prospects for improved policy that could alleviate energy disadvantage. It finds that, whilst renewable energy does have an important role to play in achieving energy affordability, it needs to be supported politically, and complemented, in practical terms, by a range of policies and measures at all levels of government.