Thursday, 1 August 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government is on the side of hardworking Australians who choose keeping the lights on and getting electricity prices down as their priorities?
Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting—
I thank the member for Bass for her question, because I know she is passionate about a fair deal for energy for the people and businesses in her electorate of Bass. Just a few months ago, I spent time with her in Bass. She took me around a number of the small businesses in her electorate, talking about a fair deal on energy and the importance of affordable, reliable energy for small businesses—including George's Dry Cleaners, who we visited when I was there in Launceston. With the member for Bass, along with the member for Braddon, we've been working closely on ensuring that Tasmania can realise its full potential in providing energy to Tasmanians and to Australia through the Battery of the Nation project and the Marinus Link project.
At the last election, the Australian people chose a government focused on driving down power prices, because we know an extra dollar in the pockets of hardworking Australians will be well spent. At the last election, Australians chose a government taking action to lower prices from 1 July through the price caps we have established that are bringing down power prices, particularly for those not in a position to be able to negotiate with the big energy companies. They are seeing savings of up to $663 for households and over $2,000 for the sorts of small businesses I was talking about a moment ago.
At the last election, Australians chose to stop dodgy discounting and charges from big energy companies, including sneaky late-payment fees which were crippling those who could least afford them. At the election, Australians chose a government that is establishing a retailer reliability obligation that ensures that the supply necessary to meet customers' needs is in place, years ahead of time. And we see this agenda is working, because just yesterday the ABS confirmed that power prices dropped 1.7 per cent, just in the last quarter alone.
But on 18 May Australians did face a fork in the road, and they voted against Labor's reckless energy policy that they couldn't explain to the Australian people, for which the costings weren't done and which was a tax on energy—electricity, gas and fuel—and a hit to jobs, wages and the economy. This government is clearly demonstrating it is on the side of the Australian people.