ACT under pressure to ‘succumb to politics’ of energy guarantee, minister says

Shane Rattenbury

The ACT’s climate change minister, Shane Rattenbury, says the territory is under intense pressure to “succumb to the politics” of reaching agreement on the national energy guarantee, even though it doubts the change is in the national interest.

In a candid assessment of the backroom dynamics of the energy deal, Rattenbury said the territory continued to have significant substantive concerns about the Turnbull government’s signature energy policy.

But he said when the ACT had floated problems with the Neg that might prove a deal breaker when the Coag energy council meets on 10 August, there was substantial blowback, because Canberra is such a small jurisdiction compared with more populous states.

“I think this is the great dilemma for the ACT,” Rattenbury told a forum at the Australian National University. “We think there are significant policy issues still to be addressed but we have to survive the politics.”

“There’s a strong argument being put that it’s in the national interest for us to deliver an outcome on this.”

Rattenbury said the ACT’s decision about whether to support or torpedo the Neg would be a cabinet decision, not a decision he took unilaterally as the relevant portfolio minister. The territory cabinet is due to discuss its position next Monday.

Rattenbury is in an unusual position because he is a Greens MP in a Labor government. The Greens federally have signalled opposition to the Neg. Labor…

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