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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1338

Energy


Mr TIM WILSON (Goldstein) (14:05): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the government is supporting hardworking families and businesses by ensuring that power is affordable and reliable, including in my electorate of Goldstein?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:05): I thank the honourable member for his question. Everything we are doing is backing the hardworking families and businesses in the honourable member's electorate and in every honourable member's electorate, including the honourable member for Paterson's electorate, who is concerned about the future of the Tomago Aluminium smelter at the same time that she is advocating the end of coal-fired energy in the Hunter Valley. That is going to be very interesting. I would encourage her to have a chat to the management and the workers about how they are going to go without any baseload power.

The opportunity to get ahead, to find a job, to start a business, to raise a family—those opportunities are what we are building in Australia today, and they depend on the security of energy, of national security of safety but, above all, they depend on the security of electricity supply. We have seen in South Australia the consequence of the radical Labor energy experiment—

Mr Brian Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lyons is warned!

Mr Dreyfus: Rubbish!

Mr TURNBULL: The member for Isaacs booms out 'rubbish'. It was a rubbish idea; you are quite right. These moments of candour on your part are very helpful. It was a really rubbish idea to have 40 per cent of your state's energy coming from wind power and doing nothing about storage, nothing about backup, except praying that you would be able to keep sucking energy out of Victoria's brown-coal generators. That is not a plan; that is complacency—it is negligent; it is Labor sloth.

The honourable members opposite know very well that their 50 per cent renewable target will drive up the price of power. They know that Australians will have to pay a lot more on their power bill because of their policies, but they will not say by how much. The Leader of the Opposition, himself, no financial slouch—formerly a director of a superannuation fund and formerly the assistant Treasurer; he has a whole history of looking at public finances—could not give the answer. He could not give the answer. Four times he was asked and four times he ducked the question, until Sabra Lane aptly summed it up by saying, 'Leader of the Opposition, you're out of time.'

We saw last night, too, the shadow Treasurer and that interview which is possibly the biggest train wreck of four or five they have had this week on the subject.

Mr Joyce: And that's saying something!

Mr TURNBULL: It is; that is right. The Deputy Prime Minister is right: they have been competing to have the worst interview on renewable energy. And the reason that they are so bad is they cannot say that they are heading towards the South Australian catastrophe of unplanned, massive commitments to renewable energy with no idea how to provide the security and the affordability that households and businesses deserve.