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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10246


Mr VASTA (Bonner) (14:15): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline to the House why it is important to take an all-of-the-above approach to sources of energy to put downward pressure on energy prices? Why is this important for jobs in my electorate? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:15): I thank the member for Bonner for his question. A key part of the Prime Minister's plan to put downward pressure on rising electricity prices is to have a durable investment framework that will encourage investment in new sources of energy supply, but also to ensure that we have base-load energy supply to support the growth of our economy, to ensure that businesses don't shut down, as they had to do in South Australia because of the failed energy policies and experiments that are the policy of the federal Labor Party. That is the way that Australians can get more hours; when their businesses stay open. That is the way Australians can get jobs; when the businesses they work for can stay open. Our policy is designed to put downward pressure on electricity prices in order to do that.

It is very important when you land on an investment framework that you ensure that you embrace all of the potential energy sources available to you, that you have an all-of-the-above approach, that you ensure you are taking advantage of the traditional advantages that we have as a country with our traditional sources, such as coal, but also to ensure that we are taking advantage of the renewable energy resources as well. The Labor Party is standing in the way of us achieving that type of durable investment framework, because they are imposing a coal veto on Australia. They are putting a coal veto on an investment framework that can secure base-load energy support for Australia. They announced it before the last election. In their policy released in April before the last election, they said they would introduce a framework to kick-start the closure of Australia's coal-fired power plants. That was the plan. That was the design. That was the intention.

The member for Shortland, the member for Hunter, the member for Paterson—the whole crew—signed up to a plan to shut down coal-fired power stations in this country. In fact, they went further. They said they would retire them. They said they would retire Australia's existing coal-fired generation. They had the policies to back that up, because they had a 45 per cent emissions reduction policy, which is twice what the government's is. The cost to jobs and the cost to wages and the cost to the economy would follow from that. They would be responsible for that. On top of that, they have a 50 per cent renewable energy target that the shadow Treasurer cannot even explain, let alone own up to when asked about it.

No-one who works in the coal industry or in traditional power generation should be in any doubt that this Leader of the Opposition or the Labor Party are on their side. They are not on their side. They can count on this side of the House. As we have seen at Whyalla and in Portland, this government, the Turnbull government, stands up for jobs in those industries, while those opposite have a policy to shut them down. They are cheering on the closure of Hazelwood and they are cheering on AGL as they close down Liddell. (Time expired)