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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Questions Without Notice (13 June 2017)

Date: Tuesday, 13 June 2017 2:45 PM
Location: House of Representatives

Ms PLIBERSEK (Sydney—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:50):  My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that wholesale electricity prices have more than doubled under his government?

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (14:50):  I cannot give the honourable member confirmation about the exact percentage, but there is no doubt that wholesale electricity prices have considerably increased in very recent times. There is no doubt about that, and the major cause of that has been the increase in the price of gas. The wholesale price of gas has risen dramatically. That has been in large part because of the policy decisions taken by state governments, in particular the state government of Victoria, which has banned the exploration and development of gas.

We are taking decisive action—

Mr Hammond interjecting—

The SPEAKER:  The member for Perth is warned!

Mr TURNBULL:  including the potential restriction on exports of gas—very stern measures—to ensure that the east coast domestic gas market is fully supplied. We are taking those actions to do that, and that is our response to ensure that we bring gas prices down.

As I said earlier in response to a question, I think from the member for Port Adelaide, the measures already announced have had a response, but in the time available I will ask the minister to add to my answer.

Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong—Minister for the Environment and Energy) (14:51):  The Prime Minister is right: wholesale prices have gone up. But—do you know?—they are only a third of the bill. When you look at the total bill under the Labor Party, do you know what happened? It doubled. It went up over 100 per cent. Do you remember cash for clunkers? Do you remember pink batts? Do you remember the citizens' assembly? Do you remember the greatest moral challenge of our time? They were the policies that you delivered.

Mr Hill interjecting—

The SPEAKER:  The member for Bruce is warned!

Mr FRYDENBERG:  And now it is the Labor government in the Northern Territory, who are sitting on 180 years worth of reserves of gas, and it is the Andrews government in Victoria, that is sitting on 40 years worth of reserves of gas, that are putting restrictions not only on unconventional gas extraction but also on conventional gas extraction onshore.

So, if you want to get electricity prices down, pick up the phone to Spring Street, ring 'Dan the Man' and say, 'Lift your moratoriums and bans.' Do not always blame someone else. Ring up the Northern Territory—go on, ring up the Northern Territory. I tell you what, Bill—I tell you what, Leader of the Opposition—your 45 per cent emissions reduction target has been described as reckless and risky. Your 50 per cent renewable energy target is like that too. Only we can be trusted with electricity prices.

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