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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 959

Dr ALY (Cowan) (16:11): There was a time when I lived in a place where there were regular blackouts and power outages. I found it particularly difficult because we lived on the 13th floor back then and when the elevators went out I got quite a bit of exercise. But that was in a Third World country and it was well over 20 years ago; in fact, closer to 30 years ago.

Fast forward to Australia in 2017, and under this Liberal-National government we are a developed nation facing a national energy crisis. We cannot allow power cuts in South Australia, New South Wales and elsewhere to become part of the new norm because this government ignore recommendations from the AEMC, the CSIRO, the electricity generation industry and others by rejecting an emissions intensity scheme. Instead, what do they do? They continue to attack renewables and falsely blame blackouts on renewables in a shameful misrepresentation to the Australian people, right here in this parliament. Instead, they bring in lumps of coal—I suspect it was really the minister's well-deserved Christmas present—and play politics while families, pensioners and businesses suffer under their right-wing-led approach, denying that climate change even exists and following the climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists down the path of ruin.

The member for Barker spoke about energy security and affordability and said that it was so simple. Why aren't they doing anything about it if it is so, so simple? The member for Barker chose to wax lyrical about affordability and lamented soaring electricity prices in South Australia: electricity prices that are soaring because their government privatised the market—just like the WA Liberals want to privatise Western Power when they get in. That seems to be the modus operandi of this LNP government: run it into the ground then sell it off without a single thought for the people who will suffer most—the mums and dads, the pensioners and those on low incomes, who will all be burdened with high energy costs.

Mr Craig Kelly: Hear, hear!

Dr ALY: Thank you.

Ms Swanson: That is your privatisation.

Dr ALY: That is your privatisation doing that. At the last election, I think I must have heard the slogan Jobs and growth more times than I would like to remember, but this government continues to fail Australians on both counts, because to achieve jobs and growth—let me give you a little lesson here: jobs and growth 101—you need to diversify markets and attract investment and you need energy security.

Let me start with the first point. The whole world is moving towards clean energy. There is no doubt about that. The whole world is moving towards it, and Australia has an enormous opportunity. But those on the other side cannot see it, because they are too blinkered by their right-wing ideology and their tinfoil hats. Our climate, especially in Western Australia, with its arid conditions, has generated innovation in alternative and renewable energy sources. I have been in a very privileged position to look at some of this innovation. It is innovation that has attracted the attention of investors in other parts of the world and in countries with similar climatic conditions who are also concerned about their energy security. Countries like Qatar, for example, who are currently preparing for the World Cup in 2020, are looking to Australia for renewable energy to run the massive number of air conditioners that they are going to need to be able to provide for the number of tourists coming to the 2020 World Cup.

Despite this unique advantage we have slipped behind the rest of the world in energy investment under this government, the government of 'jobs and growth; growth and jobs'. They have no policy to drive investment in renewables beyond 2020. In contrast, Labor's election policy of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, supported by an emissions intensity scheme, provides certainty to support new investments to the tune of $48 billion across the country. (Time expired).