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Climate review is 'housekeeping': Cormann

AAP logoAAP 10/12/2016

A review of the Turnbull government's climate change policies is mere housekeeping, a senior conservative minister insists.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the major review in 2017, which came under fire from conservative backbenchers over the past week, will examine whether the "settled" policy is being implemented in the most efficient and effective way.

"It's always good practice, it's always good housekeeping to look back at what you've done and the way you're doing it to ensure you're giving your policy settings the best possible chance to be successful," he told Sky News on Sunday.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg was forced into a backdown after launching the review's terms of reference a week ago and saying it may examine an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity sector.

Such a scheme would set a limit on how much a power station could freely emit per unit of electricity generated and allow big emitters to buy offsets from cleaner generators.

It could reportedly save households and businesses up to $15 billion on their electricity bills over the next decade.

The nation's chief scientist recommended in his energy security report to leaders they should consider an emissions intensity scheme.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the proposal was a carbon tax and the government would not support it.

Senator Cormann said the coalition's climate policy had been settled at the election before last, in 2013.

"The coalition is strongly united behind the policy position on climate change," he said.

"There is a matter-of-course review taking place ... which will look at how within our existing policy settings we can further improve the implementation and what further adjustments we've got to make, we are able to make within the overall policy settings that have been adopted by the government."

He was one of three frontbenchers who quit in 2009 over then-opposition leader Mr Turnbull's decision to support Labor's emissions trading scheme, a move that precipitated Tony Abbott taking on the coalition leadership and the vehement opposition to any form of a carbon tax.

But Senator Cormann says the party is now strongly united behind Mr Turnbull's leadership.

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