Questions Without Notice (20 March 2017)
Monday, 20 March 2017 2:28 PM
House of Representatives
Mr PASIN (Barker) (14:28): My question is to the minister for the environment. Minister, I ask this question when only moments ago the spot price for electricity in South Australia was approaching 50 times the cost of electricity in Victoria. I ask the minister about a retail business in my electorate in Mount Gambier. This business has seen an increase in the cost of its electricity bill for one month alone of $18,000. Minister, can you update the House on what action the government is taking to ensure Australians have access to affordable and reliable power? (Time expired)
Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong—Minister for the Environment and Energy) (14:28): I thank the member for Barker for his question and acknowledge his deep concern for the rising electricity prices for those in his electorate, including the irrigators, the almond growers, the sawmill at Glencoe and, indeed, the fast food operators at Naracoorte and Mount Gambier who have seen their electricity prices each go up by more than $90,000 over the last year. When those opposite talk about jobs, spare a thought for those young people, or those parents coming back into the workforce after having kids, who will be denied a job because those businesses cannot afford to pay their own electricity bills.
That is why the Prime Minister is focused on getting stability and security in our electricity system.
That is why he called in the LNG suppliers last week and got a major commitment from them to meet the future shortfalls in the domestic gas market. That is why the Snowy Hydro scheme is so important. That is why I was in South Australia for a 1,000 households and businesses battery project, where we, not the state government, partnered with AGL to provide energy security.
We have found out that the Premier of South Australia has blamed for the troubles in South Australia privatisation that occurred more than a decade ago. He has blamed the Energy Market Operator. He has blamed the federal government. Today, he has gone out and said The Australian newspaper has 'a jihad against renewables'. In a press conference today, the Premier of South Australia was asked about the warning back in 2009 that it was damaging to go above 20 per cent renewables. The question to the Premier was: 'You were warned that you were going beyond 20 per cent for renewables and that was going to destabilise the grid. What do you say, Premier of South Australia?' He said, 'The evidence is that it hasn't.' The Premier of South Australia has said about his energy system that it is good for business, it is good for jobs and it is good for affordability and reliability. Denial is not just a river in Egypt!
Then the member for Port Adelaide says what we had is an electricity—
The SPEAKER: The Minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order. I sense we are entering dangerous territory.
Mr Burke: Understanding order 100 and the requirement for authentication, we heard in the question about it being, I think, 50 times. Given the spot price is nowhere near 50 times right at this moment, could he either table his calculator or table the document that he was basing it on?
The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. As the Manager of Opposition Business knows, there is no point of order. He is welcome to ask a question on any previous questions, though. The Minister for the Environment and Energy.
Mr FRYDENBERG: The NEM pocket app is showing South Australia at $10,579 a megawatt hour. The member for Port Adelaide has belittled the troubles of his own state, calling it a 'hiccup', and when asked by David Speers about South Australia he said, 'There always had to be a jurisdiction that led the way.' The member for Port Adelaide thinks that leading the way to lower jobs, less investment, higher prices and less stability is the way to go. We on this side of the House want more energy security and affordability. (Time expired)
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