House debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Renewable Energy

2:47 pm

Photo of Fiona MartinFiona Martin (Reid, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the. Will the minister update the House about how the Morrison government's gas-fired recovery will ensure Australians have access to the affordable and reliable energy we rely on, while at the same time creating jobs?

2:48 pm

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

I thank the member for Reid for her question. Like all of us on this side of the place, she is committed to affordable, reliable energy as we bring down our emissions and support new jobs and support a strong economy. I recently had the chance to visit the Concord Golf Club in her electorate, where we saw them using a combination of old and new technologies to drive down their energy costs and drive down emissions at the same time, including solar pumps, which are used by farmers across this great land.

We on this side of the place know that, as we recover from the pandemic, businesses need affordable, reliable energy, and central to that is our gas-fired recovery. We want to see Australian gas working for all Australians—in our electricity grids, across industry for critical products like fertiliser, and across households. The report on the ACCC's gas inquiry, out today, highlights the good news on gas pricing for Australian businesses and the Australian economy more generally. The report has found that prices offered in 2021 have fallen by as much as 50 per cent—from $8 to $14 a gigajoule in 2019 to $6 to $8 a gigajoule midway through last year. This is good news, but we know we need to do more to make sure Australians lock in those internationally competitive prices over the long term, and that includes more supply.

The minister for resources is doing an enormous amount of the work in this area. He knows that more supply will flow on to lower gas prices and, importantly, to lower electricity prices, because gas generation is integral to our electricity system. You only have to look at a few events that have happened in recent times to see this. On December 17, as renewables struggled in New South Wales following a partial outage of Liddell, we saw electricity prices go to $10,000 per megawatt hour. The gas came on, and they were immediately down by 75 per cent. That's what gas does: flexible, fast-start, dispatchable generation, bringing down electricity prices and keeping the lights on.

I note that there is growing support for a gas-fired recovery not just on this side of the House but among the more enlightened members of the other side of the chamber. Meanwhile, everyone on this side of the House is absolutely committed to the affordable, reliable energy that all Australians deserve.