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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8393


Senator WONG (South AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deregulation) (18:08): As the good senator would know, there have been fluctuations in electricity prices for a range of reasons, including because of the uncertainty that she and her party, along with the Liberal Party, are seeking to impose. Firms in the electricity generation sector have made clear to the opposition that the policy of repealing the carbon price and telling people that they should not buy forward contracts and trying to foment as much as uncertainty as possible will also lead to an increase in electricity costs. So do not come in here talking about electricity cost increases, when your policies are about ensuring there is uncertainty and when you know the advice from the sector is that electricity costs will increase.

It is true that there will be an increase in electricity costs. We are accounting for the fact that that is likely to be passed on to consumers by ensuring that there is reasonable provision, through tax cuts, increased pensions and increased payments. I would also point out that this government is investing many millions of dollars in increasing the efficiency of irrigation, and has done far more on that—consistent with Mr Turnbull's policy; I will, again, give credit where credit is due. I am sure you were very pleased when that was announced as your policy, as well. We are very keen to improve the efficiency of irrigation. The programs that we have in place—that you never had in place—demonstrate that.