Thursday, 28 June 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Yesterday, every government senator including the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia teamed up with One Nation to vote to call on the government to facilitate the building of new coal-fired power stations and to retrofit existing power stations. Given that the finance minister voted for this motion, can the Prime Minister advise how much taxpayers' money will be allocated to build new coal-fired power stations or retrofit existing ones?
The government's policy is technology agnostic and facilitates investment in all forms of generation. Our focus is on reducing energy prices. That is what our policy is directed at. And we are starting on 1 July with reductions in most states in the National Electricity Market. That means that, from this weekend, a local takeaway shop in Queensland with Origin Energy or EnergyAustralia could save between $400 and $766 a year. A hairdresser in Queensland could save $243. A winery in South Australia with Origin could save between $370 and $840. Now, these gains can be locked in by the National Energy Guarantee. It provides a technology-neutral framework to encourage investment in all forms of generation and energy infrastructure. Investment certainty is what is required. I know the honourable member for Port Adelaide—whose seat has been abolished, and we sympathise with him there—believes he knows more about the energy market and energy economics than every player in the market. He reckons he's got it all worked out. That's good because, if he's not returned to parliament, he'll have a brilliant career; he'll be able to be the chief executive of one big energy company after another!
For our part, we see government's job as ensuring that there is the investment certainty that encourages people to invest in generation, invest in transmission and invest in storage so that you get lower energy prices. We are already delivering on that. We are turning the corner on energy prices. Across the national electricity market, prices are coming down from 1 July. Of course, wholesale customers have been receiving the benefit of much lower wholesale prices and lower gas prices for some time. Our plan is working. We are bringing energy prices down. The problem for the honourable member and his leader while they're going around the countryside over the winter and telling people they're going to put up their taxes is that they'll also be telling them how they're going to jack up their energy bills.