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Monday, 23 October 2017
Page: 11521

Energy


Mr EVANS (Brisbane) (14:22): My question is for the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Will the minister update the House on action the government is taking to put downward pressure on power bills and how our guarantee of affordable and reliable energy will help hardworking Australians and businesses get ahead? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:23): I thank the member for Brisbane for his question. I know that he and his constituents have been paying the high price of the Palaszczuk government's electricity tax. It's been those government-owned generators in Queensland that have been bidding in at artificially high prices to line the coffers of the Labor government and put this hidden electricity tax on the people of Queensland. That is why he, like others on this side of the House, welcomes the efforts of the Turnbull government to ensure we rein in the power of the networks, passing legislation through the parliament last week to abolish LMR; the work we've done with retailers, which is saving millions of Australian families hundreds of dollars a week by getting a better deal from their retailers; and the work we're doing with gas, intervening in the market to ensure Australians get access to gas first before it's shipped overseas.

And the National Energy Guarantee is another step in the right direction. Indeed, the Grattan Institute has said it's the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle of climate and energy policy. It's been welcomed by the biggest employers in Australia, like BlueScope and BHP, the manufacturers, the irrigators, the grocers, the energy companies themselves, the BCA, the Australian Industry Group, ACCI and the like, and COSBOA—right across the board.

I'm asked, 'Have there been any alternative approaches?' We know that the Labor Party—the party of cash for clunkers, the citizens' assembly, the CPRS, the ETS, the EIS and the $15 billion carbon tax—had four different positions last week. On Monday, the Leader of the Opposition went out and did a doorstop and said—and I quote—that the clean energy target was their position. The member for Watson didn't get the memo. Last Thursday, he went on Sky and said, 'Bipartisan agreement is in the long-term interests of the country and we're not rushing to oppose the National Energy Guarantee.'

Then the member for Sydney, the deputy to the Leader of the Opposition, did an interview on Thursday. She was asked, 'What is the Labor Party's policy?' She said, 'Our emissions intensity scheme is our preferred model.' Then the man of the moment, the member for Port Adelaide—who put out a book where he accepted the Labor Party had 'sent mixed signals' and 'made mistakes in the past'—was asked in an interview on Sunday, 'What are Labor's plans?' He said, 'The only thing we're committed to is a 50 per cent renewable energy target.' That is four different positions in one week.

The Labor Party is flailing around, looking for a position. Well, you called for bipartisanship; you called for the advice of the experts. The Energy Security Board provided it, and it's the key to lower prices and a more reliable system. It's time you got on board. (Time expired)