Energy Prices

25 Oct 2018 speech

Getting power prices down, making sure the lights stay on and meeting our Paris Agreement targets are issues that matter to my community. Small businesses, families, retirees and students have struggled under South Australia's power prices, which are the highest in the world and most unreliable in the world. I know that they're struggling because they've told me they are when I've been out doorknocking, when they've contacted my office, when I'm out at community functions, when I've held community meetings and when I've done small-business visits.

Last week, a number of my small businesses had the opportunity not just to tell but to also tell the federal Minister for Energy when he visited Blackwood with me. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the minister for taking the time to listen to my local small businesses and for taking action on power prices for them. The visit coincided with the announcement that our government will provide $100 million to support the rollout of the state government's Home Battery Scheme. This week, the Prime Minister and the minister also announced a package to reform the national energy market. There are four key parts to our plan. There will be a price safety net to stop big power companies ripping off loyal customers who don't have time to shop around for a better deal. This means savings of around $800 per year for families and around $3,400 a year for small businesses. We're going to stop price gouging by the big energy companies, including banning sneaky late payment penalties and making energy retailers pass on savings in wholesale prices to customers. We're backing investment in new power generators to improve competition and we're supporting reliable power by requiring energy companies to sign contracts guaranteeing enough energy to meet demand.

These steps are vital for small businesses in my electorate, as the minister, my state colleague, Sam Duluk MP, and I heard firsthand when we visited some fantastic small businesses in Blackwood last week who generously took time out of their busy days to let us know the impact that higher prices are having on them and their customers. We heard direct from Jason at local cafe Gourmet on Main, Doug at local bottle shop Cellarbrations, Jack at the Blackwood Dry Cleaners, Amanda at Amanda's Flowers & Gifts and Grant and Kylie at Jacobs Tyres and More about how their power prices have in some cases tripled over the past few years. Prices are impacting on their customers as well, whether it's deciding whether to buy that bunch of flowers, a new set of tyres, a bottle of bubbly for a special occasion, a morning coffee or getting your jacket dry-cleaned. These businesses employ staff, serve our community and keep our economy going.

We are determined to fix the disastrous power prices inflicted on every single South Australian by the former state Labor government and by a broken national energy market. We're doing this for hardworking small-business people like Jason, Greg, Jack, Amanda, Grant and Kylie, their families and all of their customers. We are doing this for hardworking Australians.