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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 533

Agriculture Industry

Mr PASIN (Barker) (14:16): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline how the government is securing the future of agricultural production in Australia and in my electorate of Barker? Is the Deputy Prime Minister aware of any threats to the ongoing viability of hardworking Australian business and families?

Mr JOYCE (New EnglandDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (14:17): I thank the honourable member for his question. Might I also give thanks, through him, for the support from the citrus growers in South Australia who commended us on the work we are doing in turning around the citrus industry and bringing real prosperity back to the area. It is so important when areas such as the South Australian Murraylands and Riverland region produce $2.1 billion worth of produce. Within South Australia the wool market that has also turned around and the wine market has turned around. We have record cattle prices and record meat sheep prices. We are bringing real prosperity back to the area via good policy.

Of course, that is in stark contrast to some of the other things that are happening. One of the biggest problems the irrigators have is high electricity costs. We have a running example of what would happen to our nation, the nation of Australia, if it adopts the same policy that South Australia has on renewable energy of 50 per cent. We do not need to model what is going to Australia if this crowd gets in. We can see it; it is live. They had a real-life experience of 41 degrees last night because all the air conditioners went out. Why did they go out? Because of their pathetic policy. Because of the pathetic way that they are tied to the Greens. They are more interested in Balmain than they are in the people of the Riverland. They are more interested in Annandale than they are in Adelaide. They are more interested in Green preferences than looking after the Australian working men and women.

We have seen this in such live examples. The Loxton pumping station in South Australia has had bills increase from 2010 when they had an $880,000 power bill to a $1.8 million power bill in 2017. We have seen the Central Irrigation Trust's bill has gone up by $1.4 million in 18 months. This is driving people out of jobs. It is driving industry out of South Australia.

What does the Australian Labor Party want to do? Of course, when they see a complete and utter stuff-up they replicate it as federal policy. That is what they are going to do. They want to do to Australia what they have done to South Australia. They want to give us a real-life experience of the Middle Ages. They want to take us back to the caves. That is how it works as these jobs drop off.

When is the member for Maribyrnong going to go to the dispatch box and defend his party's position on power? When is he going to stand up and say something about what they are going to do to our nation's power? When are they going to stand behind this absolute stroke of genius, which is to take Australia to the same position they have taken South Australia?

Now there is the Western Australian Labor Party. It must be a contagion! They want to replicate the South Australian experience. But it is not much of an experience; it is a bit of a nightmare. In the last five months they have had four months in which they have had blackouts. In the last five months they have had four very good reasons why businesses should be leaving South Australia.

It is really a question for you, isn't it, member for Maribyrnong? Are they actually going to switch you off? (Time expired)