Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Flynn for his question and acknowledge the fact that within his electorate there are many energy-intensive industries, like the Boyne aluminium smelter, which employs around 1,000 people near Gladstone. The fact is that on Curtis Island there have been three major LNG projects seeing tens of billions of dollars worth of investment and tens of thousands of jobs being created.
But businesses are doing it tough in Queensland, with rising electricity prices, and we heard just recently from the Australian Energy Regulator that more than 20,000 households have faced disconnections and are doing it tough as a result of rising energy prices. This is why the Turnbull government, working through the COAG Energy Council, is determined to put downward pressure on energy prices and is determined to ensure energy security is maintained as we transition to a lower emissions future. And we are doing that in a number of ways. We are doing that by seeking a review of the limited merits process, whereby the networks can appeal a decision of the Australian Energy Regulator. We are doing that by trying to get more liquidity and transparency into the domestic gas markets, and particularly the pipeline operators, as well as pushing the states to lift some of these moratoriums on the exploration and development of both conventional and nonconventional reserves. We have commissioned Australia's chief scientist, Alan Finkel, in order to undertake a review of energy security and we are pursuing a realistic renewable energy target of 23½ per cent by 2020.
But we are not getting any help from Labor state governments, particularly the one in Queensland. The one in Queensland has a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, even though today it only has about five per cent of its power coming from renewables. The Grattan Institute—no political truck with the Grattan Institute—has called this 'magic pudding economics'. It has described it as an economic illusion. Even the government owned power generator has raised its concerns, and a former Labor Queensland Treasurer of seven years standing, Keith De Lacy, has said that this will have a significant impact on living standards and economic growth. What about what the fixer said, Graham Richardson, who has described these policies as a farce, as stupid, as hurting economic growth.
So you do not have to take it from me, you can take it from some of the Labor statesmen who have criticised their own policies—and the fact that in Queensland it will cost an extra $27 billion will not help the Boyne aluminium smelter in the seat of Flynn, will not help the LNG facilities on Curtis Island. Only the coalition can be trusted. (Time expired)