House debates

Monday, 19 June 2017

Questions without Notice

Energy

2:12 pm

Photo of Rowan RamseyRowan Ramsey (Grey, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the government's efforts to drive down energy costs for hardworking Australians and their businesses?

Photo of Rowan RamseyRowan Ramsey (Grey, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Well you may laugh. How is the budget working to ensure Australia has a competitive and transparent energy market and delivers reliable and affordable energy to consumers?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Grey for his question. The Turnbull government are doing and will do everything that is needed to put downward pressure on electricity prices in this country, because we know that, to grow our economy and to support more and better paid jobs, this country needs reliable and affordable energy. What we are doing is not limiting ourselves to any one area, to any one energy source or to any one solution. What we are doing is embracing an all-of-the-above approach. This side of the House will take whatever action is necessary to put downward pressure on electricity prices, and we will not baulk at doing it. We will not be held back by ideology. We will not be held back by the arguments of those who want to restrict Australia's energy sources to any one source of energy. In doing so, we set that out in the budget. We said that we would do what it took to secure reliable base load, reliable affordable energy, reliable dispatchable energy and bankable energy that the Australian economy needs to grow more and better-paid jobs.

We are securing access to our gas resources for domestic use through the initiatives led by the Prime Minister. We are ensuring electricity customers get a fair go through the work that we are doing through the ACCC and the inquiry into energy prices. We are improving our regulations through the minister for energy through the COAG process to make it more transparent and to make our energy markets more efficient. We are investing in new generation transmission and storage capabilities, in particular through the initiative of Snowy 2.0, and we are investing in new low-emissions technologies through the CEFC.

That is how you put downward pressure on electricity prices. That is how you put the pressure down. But what it requires is moving away from the politics-as-usual approach which is being driven by the Leader of the Opposition and the ideology-driven approach by the Labor Party, who refuse to meet in the middle in this parliament and give the investment certainty that is required to put downward pressure on electricity prices in this country. If you are going to go on as the Leader of the Opposition does, as he smirks at the dispatch box while talking about bipartisanship, that sort of politics-as-usual process gives you business as usual, which means energy prices and electricity prices will go up—through the approach that is being championed by the Leader of the Opposition. Australians want all of us to be on their side when it comes to putting downward pressure on electricity prices. That is what the Turnbull government is doing. Those opposite want to play politics and drive ideology. That is what is holding them back and the Australian community back from getting the certainty they need. (Time expired)