Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is ensuring that families and businesses, including in my electorate of Lindsay, have access to the affordable, reliable power they rely on, as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 recession?
I thank the member for Lindsay for her question, and I pay tribute in particular to her outstanding work, in this place and in her electorate, on local manufacturing. She's a great champion of manufacturing in this country, and, like all of us on this side of the House, she knows that a strong Australia means having secure, affordable, reliable power in this country. As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, that's more important than ever.
We heard that last week when we were together at the Australian Arms Hotel in Penrith, where we announced a $10 million program to support energy efficiency in small hotels, right across Australia—to invest in critical initiatives like energy efficiency through improved refrigeration, air conditioning and so on. This is part of our plan for affordable, reliable energy for Western Sydney and for all of Australia, and our plan is working. Our plan is working: 17 consecutive months of wholesale price reductions in electricity in this country, which started to fall well before COVID-19. It began when we introduced the big stick legislation, which those opposite finally agreed to. There was a nine per cent reduction last year alone, in the CPI, for electricity prices. Eight consecutive quarters of CPI reductions, year-on-year, in electricity prices—that's completely unprecedented in the records we have.
Today, we've announced the latest reduction in default market offers. The default market offer is the price cap which families and small businesses get access to if they don't negotiate a market price, and the latest reductions will see a reduction in standing offers by up to 7.9 per cent for families and 8.5 per cent for small businesses. That means, for a family in St Marys, a reduction in their bill of, typically, $800 a year. A cafe in Penrith is $6,000 a year better off since we introduced the default market offer, and a hairdresser in Emu Plains is $4,000 a year better off. Lower electricity prices mean more money in the pockets of Australian households and businesses at a critical time. We on this side of the House are getting on with affordable, reliable power for all Australians.