It’s my great pleasure to rise and speak on this MPI. I note the member for Shortland speaking about abandonment. One thing very clear about the modern Labor Party is that the Labor Party here now in this chamber has abandoned coal workers. That’s what the Labor Party has done. The Labor Party, in its rant against coal, in its ignorance of the importance of a balanced energy mix in this nation, has abandoned coal workers.
The member for Shortland talks about honesty. Well, I will give him credit for one thing: the honesty of saying what is coming if Labor ever got the chance—
Inevitable? What’s coming is an implied carbon tax, by the words of the member for Shortland. They are the words. I notice the member for Corio has left this parliament. The member for Corio slunk out of his parliament because he knows what happened when Labor had a carbon tax in his region.
Oh, there he is over there. He hasn’t slunk; I withdraw that. He’s hiding in another part of the parliament. The member for Corio knows what the toxic carbon tax did to the people of Geelong, Geelong workers and manufacturing. I can tell you, under our watch we will never allow that toxic carbon tax to ever, ever be introduced again. It was a wrecking ball for manufacturing, a wrecking ball for our economy and an absolute disgrace. It’s no wonder the CFMEU is already at loggerheads with this Labor Party, already exercising its muscle, because even the CFMEU is saying that this is a disgrace.
I am very, very proud of our government’s focus on driving down power prices. What will our plan do? Our plan will stop the price gouging with a big stick—yes, a very big stick; a legislative package that will introduced into parliament next week. There will be a price safety net in place by 1 July next year, with a down payment introduced from 1 January. Already we have seen that embraced by two large power companies who have given the commitment to lower power prices.
We say the power price rip-offs, the loyalty taxes, have got to go and, under our government, that is happening. Small businesses could be paying up to $3,457 more per year in higher electricity costs because of what is currently going on with the gouging, and we will not cop it. Members opposite can sit there and take it and say ‘Yes, it is fine to rip off Australians’. But we won’t cop it; it’s disgusting. The gouging, the loyalty taxes, the penalties on customers who loyally stay with their energy companies are unacceptable, and we’re tackling them. We are calling the big energy companies out and this is having an impact, as I say. AGL has already announced cheaper power prices for over 150,000 families and 27,000 small businesses and, of course, we welcome Energy Australia’s move to lower standing offers for concessional customers.
So we are taking very strong action and this is on top of what we’ve already done—secured more gas for Australians. Spot prices are down by up to 50 per cent from the peaks of over $20 a gigajoule to between $9 and $11. One of the things that is really interesting about members opposite is, as soon as we fix an issue, fix their mess, they stop talking about it. Isn’t it interesting that Labor has stopped talking about gas prices? It is because we had to fix their mess. Those prices have come down by 50 per cent. We have reined in the networks, which Labor could have done sooner. We have secured better deals for 1.6 million households and we have seen retail prices already come down in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales. We won’t cop the rip-offs. We won’t cop the gouging. We’re taking strong action, driving down power prices and we are very proud of the action that this government is taking.
28 November 2018