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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4349


Mr ZIMMERMAN (North Sydney) (14:57): My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Will the minister update the House on how the government is putting downward pressure on power prices to ensure an affordable and reliable supply of electricity for Australian businesses and families? Is the minister aware of any alternatives?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:57): I thank the member for North Sydney for the question. I'm glad that I had the question from this side of the House, because I haven't had a question from the member from Port Adelaide for 215 days. The member for Grayndler built the Pyramids in a shorter time frame than that! Maybe the member for Port Adelaide has been banished for his backroom buffoonery. I can see the member for Lilley with a smile on his face up the top there. My money's on you, son! My money's on you!

Wholesale power prices are down nearly 30 per cent on the same time last year, and it's as a result of the interventions in the energy market by the Turnbull government. More gas is now available for domestic use rather than export. We've intervened in the retail market, getting a better deal for thousands of Australian families and a better deal out of the networks to stop them gaming the system. And, of course, there is the National Energy Guarantee, which will be so critical in integrating energy and climate policy.

I'm asked: are there any alternative approaches? We know that, when Labor was last in office, power prices doubled. We know that we had the carbon tax, we know we had the cash for clunkers and we know we had the citizen's assembly. And now we know we've got a reckless 50 per cent renewable energy target and a 45 per cent emissions reduction target. Do you think the member for Maribyrnong will go to the people of Longman, go to the people of Braddon, got to the people of Mayo to explain how this renewable energy target will work, how much it will cost and what it's even called?

The answer is no, because he doesn't know himself. The member for Hunter didn't call it a 'renewable energy target'; he called it an 'aspiration'. The member for Sydney called it an 'ambition'. And the best was the member for McMahon because he was asked by David Speers on Sky: 'So it’s not necessarily a 50 per cent RET in other words.' So here's the member for McMahon:

Correct, that’s what I’m saying to you, but there’s two. We do have a RET policy, and then we also have, which we’ve always been very clear and explicit about, a policy objective for 50 per cent beyond RET.

Mr Speaker, is there a translator in the House? Because the member for McMahon, the member for Port Adelaide, the member for Sydney, the member for Watson don't even know what their 50 per cent reckless Renewable Energy Target is named, let alone how it will work and how much it will cost. Only the coalition will deliver the people of Australia, the people of Longman, the people of Braddon, the people of Mayo, a more reliable and affordable energy system.