House debates

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Matters of Public Importance


3:51 pm

Photo of Katie AllenKatie Allen (Higgins, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

As a scientist, I know that it is vital we take ambitious and practical action on climate change. As the member for Higgins, with approximately 28,000 small and family businesses across my electorate, I understand the need for guaranteed access to low-cost energy. That is why the Morrison government has a clear and comprehensive plan for affordable and reliable energy that simultaneously ensures a green sustainable future for all Australians. We on this side of the House are not focused on the 'if' we get there but on 'how' we get there. And we will get there by unleashing the capabilities of the new technologies that are coming to light.

As the global economy transitions, a future of net-zero carbon emissions is what we are committed to. We will support that by also supporting the electricity grid security, providing low-cost energy to consumers and therefore protecting the future of our planet. That is why the Morrison government has developed Australia's first technology road map. We understand that prioritising new and emerging technologies will support the creation of 130,000 jobs and assist in our recovery from the COVID-19 recession. This approach will see the development and deployment of low-emissions technology supported by businesses, customers and the free market.

Those opposite don't have a single plan or policy to reduce emissions. It's all talk on that side, not action. Not only does our plan complement our future obligations which we will again meet and beat but also provides a clear pathway for business, industry and entrepreneurs to thrive. Vitally this will be achieved through technology, not taxes. There is no doubt that the optimal means to achieve our ambitious targets to tackle emissions is to harness innovation, technology and enterprise.

We on this side understand that energy prices are critical to business. We've put energy companies on notice with the introduction of our big-stick legislation. This includes electricity caps for families and small businesses and the ban we have placed on unreasonable late payment fees. Importantly, these measures are achieving results. Report after report is telling us that the Morrison government's plan is working, with wholesale electricity prices falling for 18 consecutive months. Prices are now at their lowest level in six years and this is because of our actions to back in businesses. With wholesale costs making up approximately a third of residential electrical bills and even more for industry, these savings are being passed on to hundreds of thousands of families and small businesses across Australia. They have benefitted directly from the reforms that we have put in place, including almost 28,000 small businesses across Higgins who all rely on more affordable energy. There are still better deals to be had, and I encourage my constituents and businesses in Higgins to find the best possible deal by going to the Energy Made Easy website. They can shop around for the best possible deal so that they have access to the affordable and reliable energy that they require and that we have made possible through our big-stick legislation.

On this side of the House we realise the importance of practical action on climate change. It's not some sort of pie-in-the-sky concept where, hopefully, we'll get there in the future; this is about getting there with practical, costed plans. In 2020 the Morrison government exceeded our achievement of the 2005 Kyoto targets by 459 million tonnes. We have also seen Australian emissions fall faster than the average of G20 countries and fall at a much greater compared rate to our New Zealand neighbours, or even our Canadian friends. They have barely budged on their reductions in emissions. Moreover, the recently released December 2020 forecast further demonstrates our credentials on climate action, with Australia on track to meet and beat our 2030 Paris targets. Indeed, over the past two years our position against 2030 targets has improved by 630 million tonnes. That's the equivalent of taking all of Australia's 14 million cars off the road for 15 years. Make no mistake, this is important stuff.

Our plan is delivering results—results for energy which hit the three targets of being affordable and reliable while also driving down emissions. This is a plan, and it's working.


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