Thursday, 15 December 2022
Treasury Laws Amendment (Energy Price Relief Plan) Bill 2022; Second Reading
Adam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source
Coal and gas corporations are driving the cost-of-living crisis, they are driving the climate crisis and it is time to stop them. In just one year, 27 gas corporations made $77 billion in revenue and paid not one dollar of tax. Coal exporters have made $45 billion in profit; meanwhile, everyday people's power bills keep going up. It is time to hold these greedy coal and gas corporations to account. Today is the beginning of the end for gas. Greedy gas corporations have been taking this country for a ride, making record profits, often getting their gas for free and putting people through enormous cost-of-living pain. Gas is expensive, it is unhealthy and it is polluting. Gas is as dirty as coal. Gas is not something to transition to; it is something we need to move away from.
I thank the government for committing to a significant package next year that will make it easier for people on low incomes, people in public housing, renters, to do the things that will cut their power bills and give them healthier, cheaper, more affordable homes to live in. If we do this package right, it will make a big difference to people on low incomes and it will mean that they not only have a few hundred dollars extra in their pocket to deal with the cost-of-living crisis this year but they will have it year after year after year into the future, and that's what this is about.
What is also clear is that, under the legislation that we are passing today, the government now has the power to freeze power bills. The Greens have been pushing for a freeze on power bills at precrisis levels for two years. This legislation will give the government the power to freeze power bills. It is not good enough to watch forecasts that power bills might go up by 47 per cent over the next couple of years. We know now that we can stop it. Government can step in and stop those price rises. If we are going to be giving compensation to ensure that people's power bills don't go up, which we support and were the first ones out there calling for it, let's freeze power bills at precrisis levels and put a windfall tax on those greedy coal and gas corporations to pay for it. It is crystal clear from now on that power prices do not need to rise by $1. We can use the powers in this bill to make sure that happens.
I move the following amendment to the second reading amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition:
That all words after "the House" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
"agrees to give the bill a second reading and:
(1) notes that this legislation gives the government the power to stop power bills rising at all and to freeze electricity bills at pre-crisis levels;
(2) calls on the government to immediately use those powers and address the urgent cost of living crisis by freezing electricity bills;
(3) does not consider it acceptable that electricity bills are set to rise by over 20% while coal and gas corporations keep getting subsidies and don't pay their fair share of tax; and
(4) considers that any price rise from here on in is squarely the government’s responsibility".