Thursday, 24 November 2016
Matters of Public Importance
As a South Australian, I find it deeply ironic that those opposite have raised the issue of inequality. The member for Hindmarsh, a South Australian as am I, must know that thanks to the South Australian Labor government, South Australians are suffering from some of the greatest inequalities in the nation when it comes to secure, reliable and affordable power. As I am sure everyone in this place is aware, South Australia had, unfortunately, a nationally and internationally unprecedented blackout recently thanks to the state Labor government. We deserve equal access, as the rest of the nation has, to secure, reliable and affordable power. We need the lights on. We need businesses to be able to operate.
Thanks to the disaster-ridden state Labor government, we have the highest electricity charges in the nation. Residents and businesses cannot be sure if they are going to have electricity from one day to the next. I am appalled at this situation. TheAdvertiser this week ran an article talking about how very much families are struggling to keep up with paying the bills. The average amount owed by a record number of South Australians who are classified as in hardship now stands at $1,706. This is the highest average debt in the nation. Adding to this, of course, we had the blackout, and, with the imminent closure of Hazelwood power station by yet another Labor government, things are set to get worse.
The reality is that, in South Australia, families cannot afford to pay skyrocketing power prices. The pensioners and elderly, some of our most vulnerable citizens, cannot afford heating and cooling, and I shudder to think what is going to happen to our power supply during another long, hot, South Australian summer. Businesses are lurching from expensive short-term contract to contract, pushing up their costs, which undoubtedly will have to be passed on to consumers. The sad reality for my residents in my electorate of Boothby and across the state is that they are dealing with this every single day.
There is more evidence of the inequality that Labor have forced upon the people of Australia, I think, through the carbon tax as well. It was devised by Labor and the Greens during the failed Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, the six years that we had to put up with them in government. This tax placed an unnecessarily heavy burden on Australian families to the tune of about $500 per household per annum. This one piece of public policy immediately drove up the cost of living for each and every Australian, causing everything from grocery bills to power bills to go through the roof. It made life harder for hardworking Australians—and that is who we are actually representing on this side of the House: hardworking Australians.
Mr Perrett interjecting—