Deputy Liberal leader and federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has argued the conversation around energy policy needs to shift away from carbon emissions.
The sentiment comes as new Environment Minister Melissa Price stressed the government already has the policies it needs for Australia to meet its emissions reduction targets.
Mr Frydenberg, who was until recently the energy minister, said the real question was not whether or not Australia adhered to its Paris Agreement climate change commitments.
“The real question is are you doing everything possible to reduce people’s power bills,” he told 2GB radio on Thursday.
“It’s not a question of just emissions reduction, it’s actually a question of what are you doing to bring the network cost down, what are you doing to get more gas into the market, what are you doing to ensure new generation assets are built.”
New Environment Minister Melissa Price said the government makes no apologies for prioritising getting power prices down.
But she’s comfortable the nation will meet its emissions targets, through the suite of measures the government already has in place.
That includes its renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent, work with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Snowy 2.0 project, she said.
The minister said she would be reviewing those initiatives, in line with common practice.
“Every government would be looking at this on a year-by-year basis – how are we going, are our policies meeting our targets – and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this process,” she said.
Ms Price also wants there to be a greater focus on the other functions of the environment department.
“The reality is that there’s a lot of money that we’re spending on the environment, and that’s the conversation that I’d like us to be having,” she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has consistently argued Australia is on track to meet its Paris carbon emission reduction commitment “at a canter”.
Greens senator Janet Rice disagrees.
“The government saying that is basically lying. It is not truthful. We are not on track to meet the Paris targets unless we have government leadership,” she told reporters at Parliament House.
Independent MP Cathy McGowan met with Mr Morrison this week, urging him to produce an energy policy that supports renewable energy investment.