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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7725


Mr JOYCE (New England) (13:31): There was a time when Australia had the cheapest power prices in the OECD. Then, over a period of years, with the gold-plating of poles and wires by the state governments, a move to renewables and a centralisation of the energy market, we've seen power prices go beyond a place where people can afford them. I commend the government today in what they have done and also commend my colleagues in the National Party for the part they play in making sure that our nation starts getting real teeth in being able to bring down power prices. This is so vitally important.

We have now proposed a divestiture power that has the capacity to break companies up if they don't do the right thing on power prices. This is incredibly important legislation, a sword of Damocles to make sure that we have a more honest and a more vibrant market and to make sure that we are able to look after pensioners. I'll be interested to see what the Labor Party do in making sure that they look after pensioners the way we are in driving down power prices, getting a fair-offer price so that we get a fair price—not just the price that they think they can get away with but a fair-offer price—and driving for new power stations. We are not so religious as to say that we don't believe there could ever be coal-fired power stations. We believe that there can be.

We have taken real action today—real action to bring about a real outcome. Now it's for the states to do their part to make sure that they get a fairer return as well.