Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Matters of Public Importance
Yes. I was just wondering whether I was interrupting the member's conversation with himself there. What we need in this country is an energy policy that fosters renewable energy and promotes it, that reduces emissions and that reduces energy and electricity prices. What we need in this country is an energy policy that lasts.
Let's just go to a term of government, shall we? Let's start with a term of government. The fact of the matter is that over the last eight years there have been 22 energy policies. Why is that so bad? Apart from the instability that it gives to the market that this government professes to love so much, the instability that it gives to investors and the instability that it gives to the Australian public, 22 energy policies in eight years have given this country higher electricity prices. Retail electricity prices, as the member for Shortland has said, have increased by 16.4 per cent under this government, which has to stop trying to pretend it only just got elected. Twenty-two energy policies in eight years has led to increases in wholesale electricity prices of up to 50 per cent. These are numbers.
I'll tell you who aren't numbers: the pensioners in my electorate of Dunkley who contact me all of the time wondering how they're going to keep the heat on in winter because they can't afford to pay for their electricity. I'll tell you who aren't numbers: it's the age pensioners in Dunkley who swelter through summer because they can't afford to put on an air conditioner. Or, if they do, they can't afford to buy food. They're real people; they're not just numbers.
What have 22 energy policies in eight years delivered for this country? Higher greenhouse emissions. You know, the actual annual emissions in this country remain nearly four per cent above the low point of March 2014.
For the six years the Labor Party was in government, greenhouse emissions were cut by 93 million tonnes and in eight years, as the member for Shortland said, this government has reduced them by nine million tonnes. That's what you get with 22 energy policies in eight years. Here's a tip to the Minister and the government: those emissions and electricity costs are supposed to be going down, and renewable energy investment and delivery is supposed to be going up and it's not because this government isn't supporting it and it's not delivering it. It's bad for the economy, it's bad for the environment and it's bad for people. You must care about one of those three things—the environment, the economy or people. We on this side care about all three of them. That's why we have to have a modern energy policy. That's why we need to have an electricity grid that is fit for purpose now and for the energy delivery of the future. You don't hear this government talking about implementing the AEMO's report about rewiring our electricity grid for the jobs, to support renewables, for the good of the future. That's what we want in my electorate of Dunkley. We don't want this machismo of yelling and defending yourselves.