Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for a unified approach to the energy shortages threatening Australia, dismissing Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett’s proposal for unilateral federal control over the issue.
Mr Turnbull told the Seven Network that while Mr Kennett may see the value in the Federal Government taking the lead on energy shortages, it was imperative that the government work co-operatively with the state governments to provide a solution.
“Rather than embarking on a constitutional battle which may or may not succeed, the better point is to work together and to deliver the secure and affordable energy Australians need,” the Prime Minister said.
This appeal comes after South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill clashed with Federal Government Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg at a joint press conference regarding approaches to solving Australia’s energy problems.
The men were holding the conference at the opening of a new solar power network, however, the appearance turned into a battleground as Weatherill accused the Federal Government of “bagging South Australia at every step of the way”.
“I’ve got to say it is a little galling to be standing here next to a man who has been standing with his Prime Minister,” said Mr Weatherill, as Mr Frydenberg stood silently.
“The way in which your government has treated our state, is the most anti-South Australian Commonwealth Government we have seen in living memory.”
This is the latest in a series of barbs exchanged between the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth Government over energy problems in the state, which Weatherill has insisted the federal body has not done enough to solve.
Turnbull condemned the actions of the Premier, and defended his Environment Minister against the accusations laid against him.
“Australians want actions, not stunts like the one pulled by Jay Weatherill,” he said. “What Josh [Frydenberg] was doing in Adelaide yesterday was announcing federal money [being poured] into another storage project, so when Jay Weatherill says we’re not doing anything to help, we are acting.”