House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Constituency Statements


9:35 am

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (New England, National Party, Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to remind the Australian people that mobile phones were invented in 1973 and, by 1983, they were commercially available. Now in excess of 90 per cent of the world has mobile phones. In fact there are more mobile phone connections than there are people in the world. Some 7.26 billion people have mobile phones. It shows the advancement of technology. We have to realise that that path that mobile phones took from 1973 to 2022 is now starting with small modular reactors. It has started. People might have a form of scepticism but, make no mistake, modular reactors are being made in factories, including micro reactors that are one per cent of the size of a nuclear reactor and modular ones, like the one that has been developed for the city of Leeds, which is 16 metres high and four metres wide, to power 503,000 people.

The alternative, of course, is renewable energy, which, as we can see, is the most expensive energy. It's only commercially viable because it's sold in five-minute blocks. Anybody can turn up for five minutes while the wind is blowing and sell power. It's the rest of the day that becomes a bit of a problem, and, therefore, they have to go back to other sources, such as gas, which is terribly expensive.

People say, 'Well, where would you want a reactor?', so I've had a survey done in my electorate, and these are the results. People think the biggest contributor to the rising cost-of-living is unrealistic climate targets. This is rather a large sample from Tamworth. This survey was advertised on the ABC; it was not advertised just in small areas. We cast the net wide to find out what people's views were. The unrealistic climate targets are thought to be one of the biggest reasons for power prices being where they are. But here is an interesting finding: 55 per cent of people were prepared to have small modular reactors in New England. The world is changing, and we've got to realise that younger people's attitudes are different to the attitudes that may have been present in the 1980s, with Chernobyl. We're going to be left behind unless we catch up to other countries in the world.

People are seeing that their power bills have gone up by an average of $222 per quarter for a person. That's $888 per year—nearly $1,000 a year. This is money people just don't have. Fuel bills are going up by $64 per week. This is a lot of money that is coming out of family budgets. And they're expecting us to be dynamic enough to say that the solution is not to absolutely desecrate the landscape with hundreds of wind towers which right now, believe you me, are incredibly unpopular.