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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10244

Energy


Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (14:06): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on actions the government has taken to reduce the cost of electricity and gas for households and businesses including—

Ms Plibersek interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member will resume her seat. The member for Sydney is warned. The member for Chisholm can begin her question again.

Ms BANKS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on actions the government has taken to reduce the cost of electricity and gas for households and businesses, including in my electorate of Chisholm.




Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:07): I thank the honourable member for her question. Our focus is on ensuring Australians have affordable and reliable power, that the lights come on and stay on, and that they can afford to keep them on. We know what happens when Labor governments fail to plan their electricity system properly. We know what happens in South Australia. The great confessor himself, the member for Port Adelaide, knows all about that. His state, thanks to absurd and ideological and idiotic Labor policies—

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield is warned.

Mr TURNBULL: have resulted in that state having the least reliable and most expensive electricity in Australia. We can't do what the opposition leader has said about the challenges we currently face and treat them as 'an issue down the track'—that was what he said—so we did the right thing. We went to the Energy Market Operator and we said, 'Tell us what is going to happen to base-load power in the years ahead: in the immediate term—this summer, for example—and in the future,' a very important question. We were advised that the closure of Liddell in 2022 would result in a big gap in dispatchable power, which would inevitably provide a similar shock to the closure of Hazelwood unless something was put in its place, and there was no evidence of anything being put in its place. So what did we do? We went to AGL and we said, 'Can you keep it going for longer? Can you consider selling it?' They've said, yes, they'll put that to their board. We thank them for that. They reckon they've got some other ideas. We'll look at them, too.

But what we are doing is addressing long-term problems today. I mentioned earlier the work that we're doing to ensure that we have the back-up. The storage that we need is vitally important. I'll give honourable members an insight into how uninformed the Labor Party was. When they published the modelling for their CPRS in 2012, all that they said about storage was this—in fact, they said nothing about it. They said that as intermittent generators such as wind produce less generation per unit of capacity on average than other generators it will require the installation of a greater amount of total generation capacity, particularly additional gas. Well, of course, thanks to them the gas was unaffordable. Labor never gave a thought to the fundamental challenges that face our market. We need to ensure that we have affordable and reliable power and meet our international obligations, and to do that you have to have a plan. (Time expired)