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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Questions Without Notice (16 February 2017)

Date: Thursday, 16 February 2017 2:42 PM
Location: House of Representatives

Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (14:42):  My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Will the minister update the House on how the government is prioritising a stable, secure, affordable energy supply, which supports jobs for hardworking Australians? What hurdles stand in the way of providing a secure and affordable electricity supply to families and farmers in my electorate of Flynn?


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong—Minister for the Environment and Energy) (14:42):  I thank the member for Flynn for his question and acknowledge that in his electorate and neighbouring electorates a number of cane growers have seen electricity prices increase by more than 100 per cent in recent years, and that is really putting pressure on their business. As the Prime Minister has made very clear, our priorities are energy security and energy affordability, as we transition to a lower emissions future. A big part of the equation going forward is storage and that is why the Prime Minister and I today announced that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be contributing $54 million to the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub to ensure that a large solar project can go ahead and that a feasibility study can be undertaken to be co-located with a 250-megawatt pumped hydro scheme. This is on top of more than $200 million we have already committed for storage related projects.

When it comes to energy policy, those opposite are very confused. You can imagine this: 18 months ago, the member for Port Adelaide goes over to the Leader of the Opposition and says, 'Look, we've got to outgreen the Greens. Let's get together and work out our energy policy.' The Leader of the Opposition says, 'Why don't you go and speak to the member for Watson and find out where we should do it.' He goes to speak to the member for Watson, who says: 'I've got a great idea. Let's have an off-site and I know where to go. Let's go to the Thredbo. If you don't like that, let's go to Uluru. Let's go and have an off-site and let's come up with policies to outgreen the Greens.' Then the member for Port Adelaide says, 'I've got an idea, a 50 per cent renewable energy target.' Then the member for Sydney says, 'Let's not call it a target; let's call it an ambition.' Then the member for Hunter does not like a target, does not like an ambition, and the member for Hunter says, 'Let's call it an aspiration.'

But the member for McMahon does not want to be outdone. The member for McMahon comes out and says, 'Let's not call it an aspiration, or an ambition, or a target; let's call it an objective.' But then the member for Watson—he always has to have the last word—goes out on Sky and says, 'It's not an ambition; it's not an aspiration; it's not a target.' Do you know what it is? It is a goal.

We heard that it does not have any impact on prices, according to the member for McMahon. The member for Sydney said yesterday it will lower prices. The final word goes to the Australian Energy Market Commission. This is what the AEMC said when it looked at extending their renewable energy target to the amount that the opposition wants:

… as existing generators exit the market, wholesale prices can be expected to rise and consumers will face the full cost of the subsidy.

That is the reality of your Labor policy: higher price for consumers. (Time expired)

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