Monday, 20 August 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. When will the Prime Minister provide Labor with a copy of the legislation for today's version of his energy policy? Will the Prime Minister work with Labor on a constructive, bipartisan basis to reduce pollution, increase renewables and deliver lower power prices for Australian families?
I have to hand it to the Leader of the Opposition. He was able to contain or restrain the smirk until he got halfway through that question. I've never heard a less convincing advocate for bipartisanship than the Leader of the Opposition. He's all politics and no policy. The simple fact is that what we have got are measures that will bring down electricity prices by hundreds of dollars—strong measures, and measures that are working already. All Labor has is a ragbag of measures that have been proven to fail: unsustainable renewable targets, unnecessary renewable targets and unsustainable emissions abatement targets. All of that has been demonstrated to put up higher prices and undermine our competitiveness. If Labor were serious about energy policy, they would be supporting policies based on economics and engineering. That's what we're doing, and that is why we're seeing lower prices, and we have more to come.
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on how implementing the ACCC's recommendations on retail electricity pricing will work to reduce energy prices for Australian households and businesses? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative suggestions that would drive prices up?
I thank the member for Brisbane for his question. Today we announced three things to do. In the March 2017 inquiry, which we launched as part of our broader suite of measures to get electricity prices down, we set the work for the ACCC to do and they reported back last month. The three key things we are doing now include a safety net on price for householders and for business, a big stick to keep the big businesses and the energy companies between the lines so those prices do go down, and backing in investment in additional power generation in this country, whether it's coal, whether it's hydro, whether it's gas—things that are firmed; things that actually generate more power and get prices down. One point two million Australians will benefit from our policy of the safety net price, the default price, which will see power prices fall between $183 and $416. On top of that, small and medium sized enterprises will benefit from a fallen price of between $560 and $1,500. That's a fall in prices as a result of the policies being pursued by this government. They were recommended to us by the ACCC and we're acting on that report. It will also simplify the policies and simplify the prices so people know that—
Mr Bowen interjecting—
when they're getting a discount, they're getting a fair dinkum discount. On top of that, by putting in the big stick for the energy companies, by putting the ACCC, the cop on the beat, back to work to ensure that they are doing the right thing, they will be monitoring their prices again. That issuance will be going out today. That means that, if they fall foul of that, the government, once we put those powers in place, will have everything from infringement fines all the way to divestiture if the big companies do not do the right thing. By backing in investment and by guaranteeing the back end of the finance so those projects can come online, we will see that additional energy put into the market.
The Labor Party have a very different view about all this. They want to shut power stations down; they want to put power prices up; they want to put unnecessary subsidies into the market, which will only force consumers to pay more; they've got a renewable energy target the shadow Treasurer doesn't even understand, let alone how much it's going to cost; and, on top of that, they have an emissions reduction target that has only one destination, and it isn't Paris; it's higher prices—it's higher prices for every single family. Under Labor, you will pay more for your electricity and you'll pay more in taxes. You'll just keep paying more and more and more under Labor.