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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 806


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (19:55): We just heard from the member for Kingsford Smith how the Labor Party is putting the prosperity of this nation at such risk. He talks about the Labor Party's plan. Can you tell me, Member for Kingsford Smith: how much will your plan will cost? How much will it cost the consumers and businesses of Australia? Secondly, how much will it change the temperatures by? To the nearest 0.00 degrees would be fine.

We have an energy affordability and reliability crisis in this nation. It is probably quite fitting that, at 5.36 this afternoon, we had a message from the Department of Parliament Services warning that there would be power outages to the Parliament House of Australia. As last Friday showed and the blackouts in South Australia have showed, we do not have enough baseload power in this country. Last Friday we had the aluminium smelter at Tomago forced to reduce its power. A busy paper mill at Tumut had power cuts. We had the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet asking all government buildings in this nation to set their thermostats at 26 degrees. We had my old schoolmate Don Harwin, the New South Wales Minister for Energy and Utilities, having to send out advice to New South Wales residents to move into shopping centres and not turn on their power at home.

What will happen next summer? If we have a repeat of these weather conditions next summer, where will this nation be in supplying electricity? Next summer, Hazelwood, which supplies 20 per cent of Victoria's power, will not be there. Next summer, the population of this nation will have increased by something like 330,000 people. We struggled last Friday to provide enough electricity for the population of this nation. How are we going to do that if we lose Hazelwood power station and we have another 330,000 people in this nation who will have air conditioning, fridges and cooking and all the other appliances?

You can build as many wind turbines as you like, but the bottom line is: when the wind does not blow, the power does not flow. That is what we have seen this summer. We have seen the wind turbines in this nation producing between one and two per cent of their total capacity. We are sleepwalking into a disaster for our nation. Electricity prices in this country are already double those of the USA. How can any industry that has to use power or turn the lights on be competitive, in a very competitive international market, if they are having to pay double the price that consumers and industry can get electricity for in the USA?

We saw the member for Melbourne come into this chamber with a solar panel, thinking this was the solution. Yes, solar is a wonderful technology, but the reality is: the International Energy Agency shows that solar produces not one per cent of the world's power needs but 0.1 per cent—1/10th of one per cent. Even if we invest trillions of dollars buying solar panels from China, the International Energy Agency estimates that, by 2040, solar will produce 0.7 per cent. We will not even have cracked it for the one per cent.

The problem that we have is Labor's insane policy of a 50 per cent renewable energy target. We have seen the damage that that has done to South Australia. We have seen the South Australian Premier say, 'We are running a big international experiment,' turning the businesses and the consumers of South Australia into guinea pigs. That is what the Labor Party wants to do to this nation. Affordable and reliable energy in the 21st century should be a given, but the Labor Party puts it at risk. It puts our prosperity risk, it puts tens of thousands of jobs at risk and it puts the health of Australians at risk, if they are unable to turn on the power on a hot summer's day.

House adjourned at 20:00