Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Energy. Will the minister update the House on why the government's focus on reducing power prices is so important for small businesses and households, including in my electorate of Robertson? What are the risks for families and small businesses from different approaches?
I thank the member for her question and I acknowledge the hard work she does for the families and small businesses of Robertson. I was very pleased to visit her electorate just a couple of weeks ago up on the Central Coast. We visited a business there called Simply Smashing—a car repair shop in West Gosford. Simply Smashing is literally being smashed by higher electricity prices. They made the point that electricity prices doubled under the previous Labor government.
Opposition members interjecting—
Members on my left! The minister will pause for a second. Members on my left will cease interjecting. The member for Lyons, who is in conversation with the member for Solomon—which is good at one level, because he's not interjecting—is warned!
Families and small businesses up and down the Central Coast will benefit from our plan for more affordable, reliable energy, announced by the Prime Minister and me yesterday. Our plan will lower power prices by stopping the price gouging from the big energy companies. We'll be bringing legislation forward to this parliament this year. Our plan will lower power prices by establishing a price safety net to be in place by 1 July with a down payment from the big energy companies from 1 January. We're backing investment in fair dinkum reliable generation, with a short list of projects by early next year. From 1 July, we'll require energy companies to invest in that fair dinkum electricity generation years ahead, to meet customers' needs.
The rip-offs have to stop. The AEMC has found that customers on standing offers could be paying up to $832 more than available market offers to those households. But it gets worse, because small businesses could be paying up to $3,500 more in higher electricity prices than alternative offers in the market. This shows just how outrageous those standing offers are.
The member asked about risks posed by alternative approaches. We know what the alternative is. The alternative is a big, new carbon tax. Labor's targets are way higher than they were last time and their carbon tax will be way higher than it was last time. Their tax will drive up prices, just like they have in Labor's experiment in South Australia, as we saw in Blackwood just last week. We are on the side of Australian households—(Time expired)