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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 42

Energy


Mr TED O'BRIEN (Fairfax) (14:32): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister advise the House on how the government is backing hardworking Australians? And what is the government doing to help Australian households get ahead?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:32): I thank the honourable member for his question. Everything we do as a government is focused on getting help and support for hardworking Australian families. We are standing up for them. We have put in place the policies that will deliver more jobs and better jobs—more investment, more employment, wider opportunities for their businesses and, of course, providing the security that is the foundation on which that opportunity depends.

There is no more important item on the household budget or on the budget of a business than the cost of energy. Indeed, for some businesses, it is the single most important element—as it was when I was there with the member for Wannon at Portland Aluminium, a business for whose survival its workers' members of the Leader of the Opposition's old union, the AWU, work. What does that business need? It needs a big export markets to sell its aluminium and it needs affordable electricity.

The Labor Party today—the Labor Party of 2017—is opposed to free trade, trying to dive down into the black hole of protectionism. At the same time it has a set of policies that will absolutely guarantee more expensive electricity and less reliable electricity.

Let's look at the facts: when the Labor Party was last in power, electricity prices increased by more than 100 per cent, and by as much as 120 per cent in some parts of the country. The reality is this: the Labor Party's ideologically-driven approach to energy results in more expensive and less reliable electricity. And you do not need to be an economic modeller to know that is true. Look at South Australia: there is a state suffering from a long-term state Labor government, with an energy structure that is giving that state the most expensive and the least reliable electricity. And whether you are an Olympic Dam, or whether you are a tuna fisherman at Port Lincoln or whether you are a family in Adelaide, right across that state you are paying the price of Labor's incompetence when it comes to energy.

We stand for more jobs, better jobs, more investment, encouragement for business to invest and bigger markets to send our goods and services to, and, above all, we stand for lower energy prices. Only the coalition has the vision and the objectivity to deliver that. (Time expired)