House debates

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Questions without Notice

Energy

2:30 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment and Energy) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Hughes for his question, and acknowledge that he strongly supports the actions of the Turnbull government yesterday to call in the retailers and to put consumers first. The Prime Minister secured important commitments from those retailers—important commitments to ensure that they provide clearer information to their customers, more comparable information to their customers and stronger protections for low-income earners to ensure they can save money on their power bills.

The actions of the Turnbull government yesterday have been warmly received. Energy Consumers Australia has said that it will have a positive effect. The Consumer Action Law Centre has said that it was a positive start. Queensland Consumers Association has talked about it as being a positive move and National Seniors Australia has said it was a step in the right direction.

I was asked if there are any obstacles to this approach. We know that under the Labor Party, power prices went up by more than 100 per cent. So when we received positive acclamation for our reforms in our meeting yesterday, you can imagine what the member for Port Adelaide did. He went out on ABC Radio this morning and he said, 'This has been the position of the Labor Party for a couple of years now. It is clear policy we took to the last election.' So we went to their election platform and nobody can find anywhere where they committed to these retail reforms.

The same applied to what we have done to rein in the networks. The member for Port Adelaide put out a press release on 25 May, saying he had long argued for these reforms to the limited merits review. So we went to their election platform. It was absolutely nowhere to be seen—absolutely nowhere to be seen!

The Prime Minister has talked about how prices are rising because of gas. On 21 June on Sky News the member for Port Adelaide was asked six times about the states lifting their mindless bans and moratoriums on gas, to which he gave the very meek response, 'Look, I'm not a scientist; I'm not a geologist.' That is what the member for Port Adelaide said when he was asked to take decisive action and to call upon his Labor colleagues in Victoria and in the Northern Territory to lift their bans, to get more gas into the domestic system and to lower prices for households. Only the coalition government will deliver lower energy prices, because the Labor Party is driven by green-left ideology, whereas we are driven by engineering and economics.

Comments

Tibor Majlath
Posted on 19 Sep 2017 7:35 am (Report this comment)

By definition, the verb 'to reform' means to make things generally better. Clearer information for customers has been a catch cry in other industries such as insurance, private health cover and so on which have never eventuated. The Minister's reforms fall into the same hole as all the other reforms of the past.

Both major political parties have been responsible for the current energy crisis. The Coalition in NSW sold off Macquarie Generation and its two coal-fired power stations, Bayswater and Liddell, for $1.5 billion to AGL.

But AGL decided that it would not extend the operating life of any of its existing coal-fired power stations, in order to support the then Abbott governments emissions reduction strategy.

Why didn't the Abbott government see that gas exports would result in a shortage of gas thereby raising prices of electricity sometime in the near future? It took the federal Coalition almost 5 years to acknowledge this problem.

Running around blaming everyone else without admission of some responsibility for the energy mess is not only juvenile but totally dishonest.

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