Power + Utilities Australia FOCUS

Federal budget throws FOCUS on the energy sector with Enlit Australia

Tuesday night’s second federal budget from Treasurer Jim Chalmers was highly anticipated by Australia’s energy industry, particularly in light of the recent Accenture-led Sunshot in 2023 Report which made three key recommendations:

  1. Commit to $10 million in the 2023/24 Budget for the Net Zero Economy Taskforce to develop a National Renewable Exports Taskforce;
  2. Develop a coordinated National Renewable Infrastructure Plan to urgently accelerate the development of new renewable energy in Australia; and
  3. Establish and fund and independent national-level Energy Transition Authority.

But did the budget, from a government swept to power on a wave generated by voters fed-up with decades of climate policy inaction, finally deliver for utilities? We asked Stephanie Bashir, CEO of Nexa Advisory and ZEN Energy CEO, Anthony Garnaut for their thoughts.


The Federal Budget is a huge step in the right direction for the clean energy transition, on paper. There is billions for electrification, energy saving upgrades, and broader decarbonisation efforts. Whether or not it actually helps Australia meet its targets, mitigate climate risks, and seize opportunities, remains to be seen.A key risk is that the ‘a little for everyone’ approach that could lead to dilution of focus, and funds getting eaten up by bureaucracy and inefficiency. We also need to get on with real boots on the ground implementation.Households, including those in social housing, will be helped to do their bit with $1.3 billion in the Household Energy Upgrades Fund.The Capacity Investment Scheme funding (amounts not disclosed) will unlock $10bn of investment in firming for the clean energy sector, initially for NSW, South Australia and Victoria.A new Hydrogen Headstart program will help connect Australia to, and potentially insert it in, the global hydrogen supply chains.There is still a lot of real work to be done to turn this money into real investment in electrification, and the development of local industries, to ensure that Australia is in the electrification and climate change race, and it doesn’t fritter away its natural competitive advantages.


The Australian government’s commitment to reducing the cost of electricity and supporting the renewable transformation is positive, particularly for vulnerable communities. The recently announced funding for the electrification of homes and businesses engages SME communities and will support the transition. The budget commitment of $2 billion in production incentives for renewable hydrogen will attract private investment and help Australia become a renewable energy superpower.In terms of climate commitments, the budget allocated four years of funding to both the newly established Net Zero Authority and the Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin scheme. These institutions have the potential to fill a substantial gap in coordinating the energy transition.The budget also focuses on Australia’s decimated tertiary sector, aiming to address the skills shortage by providing 300,000 new TAFE and vocational places and 4,000 new STEM places. These initiatives will bring new capabilities to the industry and help address the need for skilled and qualified trades and STEM-educated individuals. Overall, these budget measures signal a positive step towards a more sustainable future for Australia.​​​​​​​​​​

Enlit Australia Focus Edition 2 in partnership with:      

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