House debates

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Questions without Notice


2:35 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull said today about the National Energy Guarantee:

It has been abandoned by the federal government, I regret that, naturally, as does just about everyone in the federal government.

Does the Prime Minister also regret abandoning his own National Energy Guarantee, which he promised would bring down power prices?

2:36 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Our government is committed to bringing power prices down. Do you know what? The Australian people are interested in one thing: they're interested in electricity prices being more affordable for them and their families, and they want us to achieve that. The core components of the National Energy Guarantee, as was designed by our government—there were two parts to it—

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

You said the NEG would take prices down. You goose!

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Gellibrand will leave under 94(a).

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

There was ensuring that there was an emissions reduction target and there was ensuring that there was a reliability guarantee to increase the amount of contracting of reliable power supply in our electricity markets. That's the componentry of what that mechanism of the National Energy Guarantee was designed to achieve. This hasn't changed in terms of where we stand. A 26 per cent emissions reduction target remains the government's policy. A reliability guarantee to ensure the increased contracting of reliable power supply in the market remains our policy. The Minister for Energy, the minister for getting energy prices down, has been out there ensuring and pursuing the passage of that through the states and territories, something I recall the leader of the Labor Party actually opposing at the time when we were seeking to pursue that through the states and territories.

We remain committed to our emissions reduction target. We remain committed to ensuring that there is more reliable power supply. These are the results, together with ensuring that we don't let the big electricity companies off the hook. Already, as a result of the pressure that we have applied, around 500,000 Australian household consumers are getting a better deal as a direct result of the fact that we're prepared to stand up to those companies, to introduce legislation that provides for divestment powers—similar to what is available in the United States and in the United Kingdom—and to ensure that we step up onto these issues. The Labor Party is not. That's why electricity prices will rise under the Labor Party. They're not prepared to take on the big electricity companies. They will put in place a 45 per cent emissions reduction target, described by the Business Council of Australia as an 'economy-wrecking target', and as a result they will see prices higher under Labor and they will see the economy weaker under Labor.

We will continue to pursue sensible policies that get electricity prices down. The Labor Party are pursuing reckless targets when it comes to emissions reduction and they are pursuing soft and weak policies when it comes to taking on the big electricity companies.