Senate debates

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Questions without Notice

Energy

2:05 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Fawcett for his question and for his interest in this important area. Sadly, our home state of South Australia faces the least reliable, highest cost electricity in the country. Of course, we have learnt over recent weeks that those costs are only getting greater. Premier Jay Weatherill in South Australia, on 13 March, made what amounts to a $550 million admission of failure in terms of energy management in South Australia. That $550 million will be paid for by every woman, man and child across the state of South Australia. It will be paid for by every business in terms of increased costs of operation.

The need for the South Australian government to step in, as they now say they need to do, and build a new gas fired power station in South Australia is a clear admission from the South Australian government that they need more base-load power in SA and that they have become too reliant on intermittent sources of energy. It is a clear admission that the big experiment that Jay Weatherill said he was undertaking in terms of reliance on renewable energy has been a massive failure that is coming at a massive cost to the people and businesses of South Australia.

It should serve as a clear warning to the people of Queensland and their state government, with their 50 per cent target, and to the people of Victoria and their state government, with their 40 per cent target, that they should not rush to move to such intermittent sources without clear plans around how they maintain security through base load or improved storage capacity. Going it alone is what got South Australia into this mess and, sadly, half of the solution to get out appears to be going it alone again in terms of their plans to unilaterally rewrite the rules of the National Electricity Market, creating further risk of higher prices and higher costs that can be only to the detriment of South Australian households and businesses. (Time expired)

Comments

Tibor Majlath
Posted on 1 Apr 2017 5:00 pm (Report this comment)

How much will be paid for by every woman, man and child across Australia for the Coalition's Snowy 2.0? Will it be paid for by every business in terms of increased costs of operation?

Seems governments only act in times of crisis.

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