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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7739


Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Will the minister update the House on how the government is focusing on lower power bills for households and businesses across Australia, including in my home state of Victoria? Is the minister aware of any contrary proposals that would increase the burden on Australian families?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:23): I thank the member for Dunkley. He is focused on delivering lower power prices for businesses and families throughout his electorate—like Replas, in Seaford, who turn plastics into pallets and deck boards; like Sims Metal; like the car yards; like the retail shopping strips across Frankston and across his electorate.

We won't take lectures from the Labor Party when it comes to energy because, when they were in office, prices went up each and every year. They gave us the dreaded carbon tax. They gave us the dreaded Citizens' Assembly. They gave us the dreaded cash for clunkers. And what about green loans and the pink batts scheme—not to mention Fuelwatch and GroceryWatch. What a mess it was from Labor. No wonder the member for Port Adelaide wrote a book where he said: 'We made mistakes. We sent mixed messages.' It is because Labor drove power prices up.

In contrast, under the prime ministership of the member for Wentworth, we have been able to intervene in the gas markets. Prices have come down by up to 50 per cent. We've taken action to rein in the power of the networks, which, if the Labor party had done previously, would have saved Australian consumers over $6 billion. We've been able to get better deals for 1.8 million households. Wholesale prices are down around 25 per cent this year, and retail prices came down in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales on 1 July.

Today we've announced the next step in our energy plan: implementing the ACCC's recommendations. This is what the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said about the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and my announcements today: 'This is a great announcement. This is a good, strong action which will help bring prices down and bring relief to businesses and families.' That's from the ACCI. What do National Seniors say about the government's announcement today? They said: 'We welcome this. This is what we've called for. This is based on what our members have told us.'

What they're talking about is a default offer for 1.2 million Australians who no longer will be on the higher-price standing offers. We'll see up to a $416 saving. Businesses will see up to a $1,457 saving. We'll now have the ACCC as a permanent cop on the beat, monitoring the market and equipped with new enforcement powers to stamp out bad behaviour. We'll be implementing recommendation 4 to get more dispatchable willpower, new generation and more competition to large commercial and industrial customers. At the end of the day, the Labor Party will deliver you higher prices; the coalition will deliver you lower power prices, more jobs, more investment and a better deal for Australian families and businesses. (Time expired)