Thursday, 24 November 2022
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023; Consideration in Detail
I, indeed, have questions for the Minister for Climate Change and Energy which I hope the environment minister—
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 10 : 41 to 10 : 54
My question is to the climate change minister via the minister that's here. I relate it to Rewiring the Nation within Powering Australia—the Labor Party's policy document—which essentially underpins the purported modelling to achieve a $275 cut to the average residential household bill by 2025. I've had a lot to do with transmission projects, particularly the SA-NSW Interconnector, so I wish all the success in the world to the spectacular time line and purported deliverable capacity of this project from an expenditure point of view and from a time point of view. As the Labor Party's policy document reads, the installation of new transmission really underpins the entirety of the presumed household savings.
So my first question to the minister is: can we get an overview and a context and a time line now that the government is the government, and they've had their budget and a lot of time to turn that policy document into government policy? Can we get some confirmation and milestones around the time lines of that expenditure? What is the current anticipated time line for the various significant milestones that you go through to plan and design; to get environmental approval, planning approval, land acquisition; and to get local agreement from Indigenous groups, state government authorities and local government authorities where relevant? And, of course, what discussions have been had with the industry and the sector regarding being able to actually meet the physical requirement of rolling out this additional multibillion-dollar transmission upgrade to the network? That underpins almost the entirety of not only the savings but a lot of the purported achievement of emissions reductions, so obviously we'd very much appreciate as much information and detail that we can get on that.
The $275 cut was as at the Labor Party's announcement of that policy in December 2021, so could we get the new figure of how much you're going to save by 2025 after you've factored in what you confirm in this budget to be a 56 per cent increase in electricity prices in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 years. We all know that you're going to honour that commitment of the $275 cut from the December 2021 period by 2025. What will it be in dollar terms against the new projected June 2024 residential bills after they've increased by the 56 per cent that the budget takes into account? Could we also get that new figure, which I assume will be $275 plus the increase to residential bills in the intervening period, so that the good people of Australia know how by much their bill is going to fall between June 2024 and June 2025 when the $275 cut on December 2021 prices is taken into account.
The Labor Party policy document on this transmission policy indicated the impact at the wholesale level and at the retail level, broken down into households as well as businesses et cetera. So I think all those groups—households and, equally, businesses, major industries et cetera—would like to know: at the full implementation of this policy, keeping the solemn word to the people of Australia from that policy document, how much will power bills be cut between 2024 and 2025 for other sectors, such as the average small business?
I reiterate: could the minister please confirm the time line for rolling out the Rewiring the Nation transmission infrastructure, because that is absolutely vital to achieving any of the emissions reductions projections in the policy document as well as the cost savings.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.