House debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Energy

2:48 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's plan for affordable and reliable energy will help secure jobs and drive our economic comeback from the COVID-19 recession?

2:49 pm

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Ryan for his question. I've been privileged to spend time with him in this electorate, with small businesses, and I've seen firsthand his passionate advocacy for those businesses. He understands the importance of affordable, reliable energy in the comeback from the pandemic for businesses like those. He also knows we've laid out a comprehensive plan for affordable reliable energy in this country, making sure we have that energy without imposing new costs on the Australian economy, on Australian businesses. That plan, as laid out in the budget, will deliver upwards of 130,000 jobs. It is part of a comprehensive plan that is working. We've now seen wholesale electricity prices falling for 14 months in a row. They are at their lowest levels for many years. And we know that wholesale prices make up the vast majority of bill for energy-intensive manufacturing businesses and other energy-intensive businesses and up to half the bill for households and small businesses.

We know there is more to do. Central to our energy plan is making sure we have access to affordable, reliable gas in this country as we come back from COVID-19. That will keep the lights on, drive down prices and create jobs. We're backing the Australian gas industry to make sure Australian gas is working for all Australians, backing the 850,000 people in this country who work in manufacturing, backing the farmers who rely on gas for their fertiliser and for energy and for irrigation, and backing the LNG exporters. We've built the largest LNG export industry in the world, and we're taking action to make sure Australian gas is delivered to the right place at the right time for the right price. That means unlocking supply, investing in efficient infrastructure and empowering customers.

We're also investing in new energy technologies: $1.9 billion of extra investment in the budget, a total now, across all parts of the economy in the coming years, of $70 billion of investment in emerging energy technologies. That includes things like the re-funding of ARENA. It is now more important than ever that we have that affordable, reliable energy as we bring down our emissions—more jobs, lower prices, lower emissions—as we strengthen our economy and come back from COVID-19.