16 February 2017

Question: Labor’s reckless energy policies undermines Australian manufacturing

Will the Prime Minister advise the House on the importance of affordable and reliable power for Australian households and businesses, including in my electorate of Corangamite and across Geelong?

Prime Minister Turnbull: I thank the honourable member for her question. In the honourable member’s electorate of Corangamite, in Geelong, you are seeing a revival of manufacturing, of advanced manufacturing, tied to Deakin University. It is an example of the innovation that is delivering strong growth in jobs in manufacturing. We visited Carbon Revolution, an extraordinary place where we saw workers from Ford Motor Company who were there creating the lightest wheel rims in the world—the finest Australian technology leading the world. But that business and so many others depend upon affordable power, just as Portland Aluminium does in the member for Wannon’s electorate and, indeed, as the smelter in the member for Patterson’s electorate does—which her policy of banning coal-fired power will surely put an end to.

The reality is this: Labor have a 50 per cent renewable energy target but they cannot say what the cost will be. They are pressed to say what the cost will be. They will not reveal it and, more importantly, they have no idea how to maintain not just the affordability of electricity but also the reliability of electricity, because they have no plan to provide the backup or the storage that you need with a large amount of renewables. This has been a comprehensive failure of planning on the part of the Labor Party.

So confused are they that they do not even know whether they have one policy or two. I have to return to that cracking interview by the shadow Treasurer where Mr Spears asked: ‘What about the renewable energy target? Are you able to say what it would cost?’

Shadow Treasurer: Well, well, what we have is two Labor policies—the renewable energy target and then there’s the goal of getting to 50 per cent renewable energy. The 50 per cent renewable energy is underpinned by a range of policy measures, including, for example, the trading scheme which we announced, which would have no impact on electricity prices—no impact at all.

Hang on—

says Spears—

Are you saying there’s a difference between a goal and a target?

Shadow Treasurer:

Well, there is a renewable energy target … um … and then we have the 50 per cent aspiration.

Oh, so it is only an aspiration. I see a Gillard moment coming on— as he crab-walks away, leaving the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Port Adelaide stranded there on their 50 per cent reckless target, which we know will destroy jobs and destroy businesses and burden households with unaffordable power bills.

16 February 2017