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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2268


Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:25): My question is to the Prime Minister. Pensioners are struggling to pay their power bills because energy prices are at record highs under this conservative government. Why is this inept Prime Minister cutting the energy supplement of $365 a year for single pensioners to pay for his $65 billion big business tax cut?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:25): The changes to the energy supplement are still in Labor's costings. I'm glad we got a Dorothy Dixer on energy, because it's been more than 130 days since the member for Port Adelaide and Labor have asked a question on energy. Do you think that is because when Labor was last in office energy prices doubled? Then we got the carbon tax, the citizens' assembly and the cash for clunkers and we saw network prices skyrocket as the gold-plating took place.

The Leader of the Opposition has now asked for a national solution. He asked us to listen to the experts and he said that he wanted a bipartisan approach. But when the Energy Security Board came forward with the National Energy Guarantee, which independent modelling shows will leave the average Australian household $300 a year better off than they would be under the Labor Party, he turns his back. Today, on the front page of The Australian Financial Review, we see Andrew Liveris, a proud Australian and the head of Dow Chemical—somebody who knows a thing or two about creating jobs, because he employs nearly 100,000 people—saying that the states need to get behind the National Energy Guarantee and that the Labor Party needs to get behind the National Energy Guarantee as a means of creating jobs and investment certainty. The other thing that Andrew Liveris says is that it is time to stop those blanket bans and moratoriums on gas development that you see across Labor states. In the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews is not only locking up unconventional gas but also locking up onshore conventional gas.

A government member: What does that mean for gas prices?

Mr FRYDENBERG: Higher prices.

Ms Butler interjecting

Mr FRYDENBERG: There is 40 years worth of supply in Victoria being locked up by a Labor government. It all goes to energy prices.

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister will take a seat for a second. The member for Griffith has been warned twice. She can leave under 94(a).

The member for Griffith then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition on a point of order.

Ms Plibersek: My point of order is on relevance. The minister hasn't mentioned the energy supplement for pensioners at all.

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The members on my right! The minister is (1) on the policy topic of the question, and (2) my recollection is that he mentioned it in the first sentence. The minister has the call.

Mr FRYDENBERG: The key to lower energy prices is to get more gas into the domestic market. The Leader of the Opposition should pick up the phone and call the Labor leader in Victoria and pick up the phone and call the Labor leader in the Northern Territory, who is sitting on 200 years worth of gas, and say: 'Release that gas into the market. Develop that gas. Put Australian households and businesses first, and get behind the National Energy Guarantee as a means to a more reliable and affordable energy system.'