MPI – Energy

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Mr PITT: The Member for Macnamara has spent 10 minutes mocking those Australians who are struggling to pay their bills. They are literally losing their homes, going to live in their cars and losing their jobs. I had a local businessman in the week just past—and I won’t name his business because I don’t know if he’s informed his employees; he had a satellite business in Hervey Bay, that’s what he does—who has an estimate that his power bill will go up by $40,000. As a result he will be closing that facility in Hervey Bay and those jobs will be lost. For those interjecting, I inform them that in Queensland that price is set by the Queensland Labor government. You should inform yourself: it is set by the Queensland Labor government because they own the retailer. They own all of the transmission, they own 70 per cent of the generators, so for those opposite injecting, you might want to ring your Labor mates in Queensland and ask them to fix it.

We heard from the member for Macnamara. I was hopeful, with two minutes to go, that they’d move to Labor policy, but it lasted about 20 seconds. We had multiple mentions of the member for Hume, the former member for Kooyong, the former member for Dawson, Senator Canavan, the member for Fairfax, the member for Maranoa. This is an opportunity to put your policy forward, and I’d say to those other speakers: you should come to it immediately in the five minutes that you have.

There is a plan from those opposite—it was demonstrated in the budget—and that is an increase in electricity costs of up to 56 per cent. The people that I represent have a per capita income of less than $34,000 a year. They just can’t pay—they cannot pay. And what have we seen from those opposite? This is the plan—they do have a plan—and the plan is to cut funding to support getting gas into the market, particularly the domestic market, as quickly as possible. They have cut $23 million from the plan for the Beetaloo. The Beetaloo would have delivered some 6,000 jobs into the Northern Territory, many of those in Aboriginal communities. It would have given them export opportunities and the potential to link into the rest of the network once it was upgraded. We have seen those opposite take away the things that would have helped to drive down prices for domestic gas, in particular. They’ve cut $31 million from the Cooper Adavale strategic basin plan. The reason the strategic basin plans were put in place was to ensure we could get more gas online, particularly for domestic supply.

If you want to know what’s happening in Victoria, it’s pretty straightforward. There has been a moratorium on exploration for gas for a decade. So, if you have depletion in your reserves—and that is what’s happening in the Bass Strait—then you run out of gas. It is really straightforward. Yet those opposite want to blame Ukraine. They want to blame coal prices. Well, most coal-fired power stations have long-term contracts. They have fixed contracts for delivery, and in Queensland the generator and the mine are generally owned by the Queensland Labor government, who are hooking more than a billion dollars in profits out of those GOCs—a billion dollars. So it’s pretty straightforward.

Just to put the cherry on top, what else did they do? They provided $2.6 million a year ongoing to the Environmental Defenders Office. Now, what are they famous for? They are famous for stopping resource projects. In fact, they’ve just stopped one. Guess what? The Barossa project off the Northern Territory, a $5 billion investment by Santos, is currently suspended. They have already expended more than $2 billion on this project. They are now parked up, stacked up and stood down. Do you want to know why? It is because the Labor Party have now provided more money for environmental activists to take on more lawfare to shut more projects for gas.

It’s easy for the member for Macnamara to wax lyrical about everybody else, but we didn’t hear anything about Labor’s policies. We didn’t hear anything about how they were going to drive down prices, because their own budget said prices were increasing by up to 56 per cent. Now, what else does the Environmental Defenders Office want to do? They want to take on the Scarborough project, one of the biggest offshore projects in WA in many, many years. If I recall the numbers correctly, I think it was around US$14 billion. It gives an extension on the Pluto LNG plant at Karratha. That brings more jobs into Western Australia, particularly up in the north, and it also provides more opportunities.

But I come back to what I said earlier. I have a local business owner who I just happened to run into who is being told that the cost for electricity alone for their business in Hervey Bay will go up by $40,000, and they will close. What does that mean? They’re going to try to cover those customers by truck with delivery from Bundaberg. That will mean more trucks on the road, more cost to consumers and more cost across the road. The Labor Party should be ashamed of themselves.

#thegov_button_661eeb57975cb { color: rgba(255,255,255,1); }#thegov_button_661eeb57975cb:hover { color: rgba(255,255,255,1); }#thegov_button_661eeb57975cb { border-color: transparent; background-color: rgba(0,82,148,1); }#thegov_button_661eeb57975cb:hover { border-color: transparent; background-color: rgba(255,194,14,1); }