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Thursday, 4 July 2019
Page: 352

Energy


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (14:31): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Will the minister update the House on how the government is reducing cost of living pressures by delivering lower power prices, including for people in my electorate of Robertson?


Mr TAYLOR (HumeMinister for Energy and Emissions Reduction) (14:32): I thank the member for Robertson for her question. She is a terrific local member who wants to see a fair go for those who have a go. I'm delighted to inform her that almost 55,000 of her constituents are going to benefit from the tax relief before the parliament here today, which we implore those opposite to support.

She also wants to see a fair go for her constituents on energy. We took a clear plan to the election with a firm commitment to deliver more affordable, reliable power for all Australians. I'm delighted to inform the House that we are seeing results. From this week the default market offer comes into place. That ensures that 800,000 Australians who aren't in a position to negotiate a better price receive a fairer price than they did last year—a price cut on their electricity bills saving households up to $660 and saving small businesses up to almost $3,000 on their power bills. Along with that we saw the introduction just a couple of days ago of the reference price. That means that all energy customers will have a clear and transparent benchmark against which their bills will be measured. For the first time, they will be able to compare apples with apples in the offers given to them by their energy companies so they can achieve the best possible plan for them. On top of that, from 1 July we saw the introduction of the Retailer Reliability Obligation. This puts accountability on the big energy companies to ensure that years ahead of time they have the supply in the market to meet the needs of their customers, be they households, small businesses or industry. All of that is great news for families, for small businesses and for industry, which creates so many jobs for Australians. They will be able to save money from their power bills just as they will be able to get more money in their pockets from the tax relief that is in front of the parliament here today.

We know that a dollar in the pocket of a family is the best place to have a dollar, and that's where we want to see more of it. Compare that with what those opposite put forward during the election campaign: an economy-wrecking target that would see wages slashed—according to independent modelling—by $9,000 a year and jobs slashed by 336,000 across Australia. Only the Liberal-National government will get power prices down, keep the lights on and, most importantly, ensure that there is more money in the pockets of hardworking Australians.