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Monday, 3 December 2018
Page: 12228

Energy


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (14:58): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to statements made today by industry groups that the government's proposed divestiture powers represent deep and genuine sovereign risk or discourage badly needed investment in the energy sector and will lead only to increased investment uncertainty and prices. Isn't the government's big stick really just a big mistake that will lead to sovereign risk and higher power prices? Why has this Liberal government abandoned its policy commitment to free enterprise?


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongThe Treasurer) (14:59): The member for McMahon has a short memory, because the last time the Labor Party was in government, at a federal level, power prices doubled. They went up by over 100 per cent. They ignored the warnings on gas. As the member for Hume knows, they left us with potential shortfalls in the domestic gas market. Now they are coming up with the pink batteries to solve the energy issues. What about a replication nationally of what we saw in South Australia—the big experiment in South Australia?

Some 458,000 Australian families and 39,000 small businesses are today getting a better deal on their energy prices thanks to the work of the Morrison government because we're putting energy users, consumers, businesses and families first, whereas the Labor Party is siding with the energy companies.

The fact is that there is market misconduct, and we have to take the necessary action. There are a range of remedies available. They range from a warning notice to enforceable undertakings, to financial penalties and fines and, finally, as a last resort, to divestment. These are the steps that need to be taken to ensure that energy consumers get the lowest possible prices. If I were the member for McMahon, rather than being out there throwing a big stick at big business with IR and tax policies, I'd be worrying about the 3,000 retirees who are going to be worse off and the 7,000 families who negative gear in the member for McMahon's electorate who will all be worse off as a result of Labor's policy.