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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7740

Energy


Mr BUTLER (Port Adelaide) (14:26): My question is to the Prime Minister. Over the past two years, the Prime Minister has asked Labor to support an emissions intensity scheme, a clean energy target, the National Energy Guarantee that went to the party room last Tuesday, another version of it announced on Saturday—

Mr Fletcher interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Port Adelaide will pause for a second. The Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities is loudly interjecting and preventing me from hearing the question. He's warned. Can you start again, Member for Port Adelaide? We will start the clock again.

Mr BUTLER: It is my pleasure. My question is to the Prime Minister. Over the past two years, the Prime Minister has asked Labor to support an emissions intensity scheme, a clean energy target, the National Energy Guarantee that went to the party room last Tuesday, another version announced on Saturday and yet another policy four hours ago. Which of these five government policies does the government currently support? Aren't Australians paying the price for five years of this government focusing on itself instead of policies to bring down power prices for Australian households?




Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:28): I thank the honourable member for his question. The policies that the Labor Party championed when in government were responsible for making the energy sector both unreliable and extraordinarily expensive, to the point that electricity prices rose over the last decade by 56 per cent over the rate of inflation. It was a decoupling of electricity prices from the consumer price index and it was entirely due to poor policy. It was largely a function of Labor ideology and idiocy that saw that. We're starting to see prices coming down. We're seeing wholesale generation costs coming down substantially. Retail prices are coming down. Emissions from the electricity sector are also coming down. In terms of the National Energy Guarantee, the policy that we took to the party room last week has been improved following consultation—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: It has been. We consulted with our colleagues. We have improved it to ensure that there is effectively a mechanism that makes it absolutely clear that any change to emissions standards cannot put up prices. That's a very important safeguard. Overall, what Labor has failed to do is focus on price. That is what we're focusing on. We're having success with it. But there's more work to do.

The announcements we made today, as recommended by the ACCC, will save families and businesses hundreds of dollars. They're long overdue. I thank the ACCC for their recommendations, which would never have arisen had it not been for the inquiry being commissioned by the Treasurer 15 months ago. It's a great piece of work. I'm glad that Labor is supporting, or claiming to support, at least one part of it. But this is an opportunity to make a really material difference to people's electricity bills and get them lower. That's what they want us to do for them: cheaper electricity.

The SPEAKER: The members for Shortland and Eden-Monaro will cease interjecting or they won't remain in the chamber.