House debates

Thursday, 24 November 2016


Renewable Energy

12:34 pm

Photo of Andrew HastieAndrew Hastie (Canning, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The cost of living and job security is very important to the Australian people, but too often in the last decade we have seen those opposite and their state counterparts introduce energy policy that needlessly increases living costs and also threatens people's employment. The cost of living is an everyday concern for people, especially the cost of energy. We all pay gas and electricity bills. It is essential for households to have power. So good government should not increase the cost of living for Australians, but under the previous Labor government electricity prices went up by 100 per cent. The back pocket of everyday mums, dads, pensioners, veterans, farmers, workers and business owners all took a massive hit. Why? Because of green tape. During the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era, the Labor government took 12 different positions on climate change and energy policy: 'cash for clunkers', the carbon tax, the citizens assembly, the ETS—the list goes on. The radical green policy hit power bills with a 100 per cent hike. If you had a mortgage, were building a small business, were paying school fees or living on a pension, your life got tougher.

Since forming government, the coalition has been working hard to fix Labor's mess. We scrapped the carbon tax and delivered Australian families and businesses the biggest drop in electricity prices on record. This pushed down power bills all around Australia, particularly in Canning, in places like Byford, Mandurah and Pinjarra. This government made it easier for Australians to balance their household budgets. But cutting regulation is one part of the story. Energy security must also be a priority. Making sure the lights stay on is an essential task of government.

The South Australian blackout should have been a wake-up call. Although a major storm precipitated the black out, there was no resilience within the system to absorb the hit. The South Australian Labor government have run headlong after green ideology. By rushing new tech and closing down the old tech, SA currently gets about 46 per cent of its energy share from renewables. But the technology just is not ready. The SA government failed at the basic duty of government: to provide essential services to their people. Renewables clearly have a strong future in Australia's energy mix. The coalition supports renewable energy and emissions reduction, but the way we get there is incredibly important. Minister Frydenberg is working with COAG to review state energy security because some state governments cannot be trusted to implement change pragmatically, in a way that protects the livelihoods of Australian people.

Across the country we can see state Labor's green impact on the mining and energy sectors. They are squeezing out thousands of Australian jobs. Victorian Labor is chasing 40 per cent renewables by 2025. Queensland Labor wants 50 per cent by 2030. These targets are strangling business, investment and jobs. In Hazelwood, Victorian Labor pushed the employer of 750 people out of town with its anticompetitive policies. This has a flow-on effect. Closing Hazelwood is a threat to the nearby Portland Alcoa facility, which relied on Hazelwood for its energy supply. If it closes, another 700 jobs will go. In my state of West Australia, energy and mining are big employers. The WA Liberal government supports the federal government's energy plan. It has no official renewable target of its own. It is pragmatic and it wants to secure the livelihoods of Western Australians. The WA Liberals are not driven by green ideology. They are pragmatic, and that is a very good thing for the power bills, energy security and jobs in Western Australia.

But what about WA Labor? They have been pretty quiet. They have a radical green energy plan themselves. On 27 October, the shadow minister for state development, energy, mines and petroleum, Bill Johnston, told the National Environmental Law Association WA State Conference that his party would introduce at least a 50 per cent renewable energy target if they won office, rivalling Queensland. This would be a disaster for the workers and rate payers of West Australia. It threatens jobs and budgets for thousands of families. Labor says they will put people first, but I will tell you the truth: if you are paying a mortgage, if you are paying school fees or if you are trying to start a small business, carefully consider your choice in March at the state election. Labor will make your life more difficult. The Barnett government is about supporting you and securing your livelihood. The Commonwealth government will back them up with sound economic and energy policy, creating better lives for not only Western Australia but Australians around this continent.


Tibor Majlath
Posted on 26 Nov 2016 10:42 am (Report this comment)

The member's claim that power bills went up 100 per cent under the previous Labor government is typically of the 'post-truth' fad.

The electricity component of a power bill attracted the carbon tax of 10% on average. The network charges did not attract the carbon tax. But the whole bill attracts the Coalition's Goods and Services tax. A tax on a tax.

Way before any 'radical green policy of Labor', my bills showed that from 2001 to 2011 the cost of 1KWH went from $0.12 to $0.20 (+67%), while network charges per day went from $0.38 to $0.69 (+82%). This period was under Coalition and Labor governments.

Under the Labor's carbon tax from 2012-2013 bills showed that the cost of 1KWH went from $0.20 to $0.28 (+40%), while network charges per day went from $0.69 to $1.07 (+55%).

Post carbon tax, from 2014 to 2015 cost of 1KWH went from $0.28 to $0.28 (+0%), while network charges per day went from $0.97 to $1.21 (+24%).

As to how the member calculated 100% is anyone's guess. The debate as usual descends into utter gibberish.

Tibor Majlath
Posted on 26 Nov 2016 11:33 am (Report this comment)

The member blames 'green tape' for many ills of society.

We saw this nonsense in the case of the 10% carbon tax on electricity bills which the member claims resulted in 100% increase. People believed it. Just as the member believes his own claim of delivering the biggest drop (9-12%) in electricity prices on record with the scrapping of the carbon tax.

If your bill doubled because of the tax (100% increase) then it should have halved (-50%) with the scrapping of the carbon tax!

We saw this nonsense in the case of refrigerant gases where massive price rises due to global shortages were blamed entirely on the carbon levy. This happened even though the refrigerant industry stockpiled many gases to avoid paying the levy. The Coalition ran around blaming 100% of the increase of a certain gas (R404A) on the 20% carbon levy.

Sheer sophistry.

Posted on 26 Nov 2016 11:38 am (Report this comment)

Tibor may be right that Andrew Hastie's claims about electricity charges are not completely accurate but it is not accuracy that the electorate want it is cheap electricity.

Our Electricity Bills have gone up because of Government action and inaction. Too much action by accountants ands social engineers and too little action by civil engineers.

Government is responsible for the supply of cheap electricity. It is a responsibility that they divest themselves of at their own peril. (Both Newman and Bligh have found I am not alone in my opinion)I hold the Queensland Government totally responsible for my electricity bill and treat any supplier Energex AGL Ergon etc as mere agents of the Government

IF these Agents are failing in their duty I am happy for Government to Nationalize them with or without compensation.

Last real power station in Queensland was planned in Bjelke Petersen era.

We should be building large Coal Power stations adjacent to the Coal Mines to supply all of Queensland power and export the surplus to Victoria and South Australia now that they have closed Hazelwood and Green's goal is to wipe out Yalourn. With Queensland becoming the Nation's power generator Queenslanders could get very low cost electricity. If the Bjelke Petersen era Nationals policy supported by DLP and Katter policy of Resource Retention policy was implemented. Power Stations would get their Coal for free.
We need a return to National Party policies and to kick out the incompetents in both the ALP and LNP.

The State election coming up is our opportunity. Those that advocate massive new infrastructure will get my vote.

Andrew Jackson

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