‘Massive’: warning of impending disaster

Peter Dutton has made an odd call after Australian consumers were warned to brace for more shocks in energy prices.

Peter Dutton has made a bizarre claim about a spike in electricity prices and issued a stark warning to Australian households.

The opposition leader claims higher energy bills lie ahead under the Labor government’s climate and energy policies.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers warned this week that a “perfect storm” had caused a spike in energy prices and warned that pressures on the cost of living would continue for some time to come.

Mr Dutton jumped on the comments to attack Labor by making a strange claim about energy prices.

“People will have to brace themselves for what electricity prices will be in the next three years given Labour’s energy policies,” he told 2GB radio.

“They don’t want you to use electricity and that’s why they’re pricing it higher and higher.”

In Canberra, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, spoke on the issue of rising electricity prices and a potential gas shortage.

Mr Bowen said he would convene a meeting with state and territory energy ministers early next week with the energy regulator to brief them on supply issues.

He said it was too early for him to say how much higher energy prices were expected to go.

Bowen said the Albanian government would make its decisions based on evidence rather than “partisan politics, bickering, climate wars and culture wars,” in a swipe at its energy portfolio predecessor Angus Taylor.

“This administration will take action when necessary and appropriate. We will do this, based on expert advice, we will do this in conjunction with our state and area colleagues,” he said.

Bowen called the press conference after meeting the former head of Australia’s busiest fire service and other members of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group.

Greg Mullins, the ex Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, met on Thursday with Mr Bowen and other Labor front benchers to discuss climate change and natural disaster mitigation.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Mullins said Australia was experiencing “major changes” in its climate that would lead to more disasters.

“The next danger will be massive grass fires as Australia’s red center is now green. If we go brown, like in 1975, it will burn,” he said.

“We will bring fires back. We’re going to have heat waves, droughts — that’s what climate change is doing to the world and we need to take drastic action.”

Mr. Mullins has been an outspoken advocate for emissions reductions since 2019 after founding Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, which now has 37 members.

He and other former emergency service chiefs presented Labor on Thursday with a “six-point plan” outlining the issues they believe need to be addressed urgently.

Their list of demands includes a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and the shift from fossil fuel subsidies to emergency funding.

Mr Bowen said he wouldn’t “shake” the group’s expert advice, and seemed keen to differentiate Labor from the coalition on climate.

“They have warned Australia and the Australian governments of the emerging natural disasters as a direct result of climate change. And they’ve been ignored for too long,” he told reporters.

“I especially wanted them to be my first meeting after I was sworn in.”

Mr Bowen did not directly answer whether he thought the emergency chiefs were “wrong” in advocating such an ambitious short-term emissions reduction target, as he had praised their expertise.

He said Labor would bring its short-term target of a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels by 2030 to the United Nations.

“Of course, if our policies are more effective than modeled, that’s very good, but that’s the goal,” he said.

Mr Mullins said he was confident those targets would be “stepped up” in the coming years based on expert advice.

“I have to say, 43 percent is a lot better than 26 to 28 percent. We’re going to work on that,” he said.

The coalition had stuck to its target of a 26 to 28 percent reduction over the same time frame before the election, while bipartisan support for its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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