Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on how the government's energy policy guarantees affordable and reliable energy for hardworking Australian families and businesses, while also meeting our international obligations? Is the minister also aware of any other approaches?
I thank the member for Wright for his question and for his deep interest in the National Energy Guarantee, which will ensure that affordable and reliable energy, electricity, is provided to Australians by adopting an innovative model that integrates climate policy and energy policy for the very first time. The policy is pro-market, in that it enables the energy retailers to decide how to meet the reliability and emissions targets so that they are able to respond to advances in technology and still support reliability—'reliability' meaning keeping the lights on and ensuring that we don't have blackouts like South Australia has suffered so recently.
The policy has been widely welcomed by the largest employer groups in Australia: those who employ union and non-union workers, who provide the jobs for Australians. It has been welcomed by key industry groups and by key energy suppliers. This policy has also been widely praised by respected international commentators. For example, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in a research paper entitled 'Ending the climate wars: Australia's National Energy Guarantee', has labelled the government's policy as 'innovative and elegant' and said it 'could well prove ingenious'. It also says it is 'likely to be environmentally effective' because we will meet our international emissions reductions targets. The paper goes on to say it 'would be a template for policymakers worldwide'. The coalition has a solution to provide affordable and reliable energy. It will be efficient and effective and it will also meet our international obligations.
I'm asked about alternative approaches. The fact is Labor's policies are unaffordable and unreliable. They mean that power prices will go through the roof, that jobs will be lost, that the economy will be hit and that there will be the kinds of blackouts that we've seen under Labor policies elsewhere. Labor's embrace of Greens' policies is utterly reckless. A 45 per cent emissions reduction target is way beyond any comparable economy. The 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target will drive power prices up and will cost jobs. And we now know, through independent modelling, that Labor's policy will add at least $200 a year to household power bills. The choice is clear: Labor stands for higher power prices; the coalition stands for affordable and reliable electricity.