Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Regulations and Determinations

Industry Research and Development (Underwriting New Generation Investments Program) Instrument 2021; Disallowance

6:01 pm

Photo of Louise PrattLouise Pratt (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing) Share this | Hansard source

Labor has also consistently criticised the government's Underwriting New Generation Investments program since its announcement in 2018. It lacks both transparency and integrity. It has given disgraced minister Angus Taylor a blank cheque to fund pet projects, without due process. Industry and experts tell us that it will push up power prices and expose taxpayers to risky investments. The Business Council of Australia has also criticised the program, saying:

Ad hoc intervention in the energy market, such as underwriting generation investment … will only result in less investment in energy generation, less reliable energy and ultimately higher prices—

for consumers. The Australian Industry Group have said:

An underwriting program may have merit, but presents significant risks to the public purse …

Therefore, the burden will be placed on the taxpayer. They also have concerns about the integrity of Australia's electricity markets under this scheme. Labor very much shares all of those concerns. We support the role that gas will play in a transition in energy, but support for any projects—gas or pumped hydro—needs to be considered through a proper process, not through a coalition slush fund such as this one. We will maintain our opposition to this flawed program.


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