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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Questions Without Notice (27 February 2017)

Date: Monday, 27 February 2017 2:50 PM
Location: House of Representatives

Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (14:50):  My question is for the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Will the minister update the House on the government's actions to ensure an affordable supply of energy for hardworking families and small businesses, including in Dunkley? What hurdles stand in the way to achieving this security?


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong—Minister for the Environment and Energy) (14:50):  I thank the member for Dunkley for his question and acknowledge that, with 16,000 small businesses in his electorate—whether it is the butcher in Frankston, whether it is the baker in Seaford or, indeed, whether it is the candlestick maker in Mornington—they are all paying higher prices for their electricity. We, the Turnbull government, are committed to driving down the costs of power by reining in the networks by changes to limited merits review, by changing the gas transportation system and pricing arrangements, and by putting in place a realistic and practicable Renewable Energy Target.

I am asked about any hurdles. We know that last week the Leader of the Opposition doubled down when it came to his reckless 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target. He does not know how much it costs, he does not know what it is called and he does not know how it is going to work. This is what the member for Sydney said on 14 February, 'It's a 50 per cent ambition.' This is what the member for Watson said on 16 February, 'It's generally referred to as a goal.'

This is what the member for McMahon said on 16 February, 'We have all been very clear and explicit about a policy objective.' This is what the member for Hunter said on Sky:

It's not a policy. it's an announcement of an aspiration.

You have to have goals in life!

We know that the Leader of the Opposition went on 7.30 and said:

… if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.

That is what he famously said. But this has to take the cake. In his speech to Bloomberg last week on the 50 per cent renewable energy target he said:

… this is our target, it is our goal, it is our objective, it's our aspiration.

He then went on to say:

It’s not something that we will need to legislate, because we are confident Australia will achieve it.

I thought, 'That's strange. What did he say to the Australian people less than a year ago at the election? What did he say to 24 million people?' I discovered on page 15 of the Labor Party election document it said: 'A Labor government will ensure the implementation of these reforms through Commonwealth law and legislation relating to the 2030 target of 50 per cent renewable energy generation.' So there you go. He has contradicted his own policy document from less than a year ago. He has contradicted the member for McMahon, the member for Sydney and the member for Watson and he is giving up on 16,000 small businesses in the electorate of Dunkley and many others because he is putting his ideology ahead of the practical reality. (Time expired)

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