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Thursday, 4 July 2019
Page: 357


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the Opposition) (14:51): My question is again addressed to the Prime Minister. Has the government committed to deliver gas prices of $7 per gigajoule or less for Australian industry and households?

Mr TAYLOR (HumeMinister for Energy and Emissions Reduction) (14:51): Honourable members would be aware that my colleague in the other place Senator Cormann has been speaking with his fellow senators about a range of policy issues, including issues relating to energy, and, as a government, we are always prepared to listen to good ideas on how to reduce the cost of living for Australian families and reduce the cost of doing business for Australian businesses. But, as we know on this side of the House, we are absolutely committed to a fairer deal on energy for all Australians, and that means a fair deal on gas and a fair deal on electricity.

The member opposite raised the question of gas prices. Gas prices, wholesale prices, have fallen from their peak in 2017. We saw a peak on gas prices of over $20 per gigajoule.

The SPEAKER: If the minister could just pause for a second—he doesn't have to go back to his seat; I won't be that long, I promise—it was a very specific question. I'll always allow a preamble, and he's on the general policy subject, but it had nothing to do with electricity. It was a specific question about gas. I've allowed him to go for a minute, and he needs to address himself to the question or wind up his answer.

Mr TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Of course, I was on to gas prices, and we saw in 2017 a $21-per-gigajoule peak on gas prices. We've seen a halving of those prices, down to $10. But we call on states and territories to remove the blanket regulatory bans, the moratoria on offshore gas exploration and development, because that will make the difference.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition can resume his seat. The question wasn't generally about gas prices. It was a very specific question. I'll always allow a preamble. We're now 1½ minutes in. I just say to the minister: he needs to address the specifics of the question and no longer address the general policy topic, or simply wind up his answer or take it on notice.

Mr TAYLOR: We will continue to work for more affordable gas prices and electricity prices for all Australians.

Mr Albanese: That's a no.

The SPEAKER: No, the Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. I'll enforce the standing orders, but the Leader of the Opposition can't start answering questions himself.

Mr Albanese: Someone has to!

The SPEAKER: If you want to change the standing orders, those on my right might want to ask some questions of those on my left, but that's a matter for the House.