Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Banks for his question. I acknowledge his deep concern about the impact that rising electricity prices are having on people in his electorate. He understands that there's no single silver bullet for lowering electricity prices, and that's why the Turnbull government is taking action on a number of fronts: ensuring that there is more gas for domestic users; reining in the power of the networks to prevent them from gaming the system; investing in the newest technology and innovation, like Snowy Hydro 2.0; and ensuring that the cop on the beat, the ACCC, is keeping a firm hand on the margins in the retail sector.
Today's meeting was another step forward, because the Prime Minister was able to secure significant and substantive reforms. We will now ensure that there is better information provided to households and consumers. From now on, the electricity companies will be required to tell customers when they have come off a discount and the impact that will have when they go onto a higher priced system. We are now ensuring that you can compare the information, because we know that the biggest discount doesn't necessarily mean the best deal. We also know that the lowest income households, those on hardship programs, will not lose their discount or their benefits as a result of a nonpayment.
I am asked: are there any obstacles to this approach? We know that those opposite, when it came to their time in government, were asleep at the wheel, because the Labor Party gave us that dreaded carbon tax. The Labor Party gave us 'cash for clunkers'. The Labor Party gave us the citizens' assembly. What was most punishing for households, families, pensioners and businesses was that the Labor Party gave us, on their watch, more than a 100 per cent increase in power prices. Now they want to take the big experiment in South Australia national. The member for Port Adelaide should know better, because the cost to his own state has been enormous in terms of jobs, confidence and investment, and in terms of that State's standing throughout the rest of the country. We have taken decisive, concrete action on a number of fronts, and that is going to see lower prices for Australian households and families, thanks to the work of the Turnbull government.