No End in Sight for energy price increases – Doorstop interview, Canberra

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Doorstop interview, Parliament House Canberra


Ted O’Brien: Middle of Australia have been left out of the federal budget and they are going to be copping it the hardest as prices increase. With the release of the DMO.

This exposes Labor’s lie and broken promises when it comes to electricity prices. The Labor government promised the Australian people that they would reduce power prices by $275 per household.

Since then, prices have been going up by hundreds of dollars. And now on the first of July, they’ll be going up hundreds more.

This exposes that broken promise. It’s only going to get harder and Labor owns it.

With that, if there’s any questions. 

Reporter: Just on that $600, what’s that based on?

Ted O’Brien: So the DMO that comes out today indicates that there will be increases up to 24.9 percent. Now for New South Wales that represents an increase just below $600.

Reporter: Is that based on what like the average electricity bill or ?

Ted O’Brien: Correct. This is what the DMO basically sets. It’s the reference price. It’s the cap. It’s an indication for all Australians of where prices are going. Really the big takeaway is you’re looking at a quarter of your bill going up further, and it’s going to be hundreds of dollars.

The Victorian regulator is yet to release its figures but it looks like it’ll be even higher for Victorian households. And, you know, I think like many MPs in Parliament, I speak with my own constituents and they’re struggling. They’re struggling and they’re making big personal decisions for their families. And every single week, prices are going up and in the budget that the Albanese government brought down two weeks ago, there was not a single measure that will help middle Australia with these cost pressures. Not a single measure.

You know, they’ve been going around the countryside over the last two weeks, patting themselves on the back for energy prices coming down when in fact, we find out today prices are going up. I mean Australian households have been told by the Labor government that energy prices are coming down. We find out today that in fact they are going to be going up by hundreds of dollars more come July 1.

You know Australian households can’t keep copping this. And every single time it’s raised, we’ll have the Prime Minister or the Energy Minister patting themselves on the back. Only a Labor government would pat itself on the back for delivering the highest electricity prices Australia has ever seen. And that is what is happening. This is Labor’s policies being manifested in people’s power bill. No matter how much the government might pretend that they’re doing everything to keep prices down, every Australian household knows the truth. Every time they open up their power bill, they see prices are going up. We find out today from the regulator that prices will go up even further come July one and middle Australia are going to be feeling the pain. It’s Labor’s policies, but the price for their policies will be paid by every day Australians.

Reporter: Is this increase lower than what was expected a year ago? The energy regulator says that is because the federal government intervened. I guess you acknowledge that there’s some merit in that intervention now.

Ted O’Brien: No, not at all. You know, when the government says it could have been worse. It is the government comparing its set of dumb policies now to its really dumb policies are up months ago. Let’s not forget that the government had promised a $275 reduction in power bills. That was their core promise, they broke it.

Reporter: The only other thing I have is that, so I believe in the ACT energy bills have actually come down slightly because of the reliance on renewable energies. The government has criticized the Coalition for failing to invest in renewable energies over the 9 years that you had in power. Given that it’s shown that it can reduce power prices, do you take any responsibility when it comes to how energy prices have been increasing.

Ted O’Brien: Well I think the best way to look at this is the track record. Under the Coalition prices came down under Labor prices are going up. In the last term of government alone for Australian households prices came down 8%, businesses 10%, industry 12%. So we had declines of prices under the Coalition. Labor came in and said they’ve got a plan to get those prices down even further. Instead, they’ve delivered price increases on price increases. And we find out today that they’re going to increase another 25 percent. So I reject Labor’s claim.

Our approach as a Coalition is that we shouldn’t have technologies pitted against each other. We need an all the above approach. This is about getting the right mix of technologies in the system. We were able to deliver record investment in renewables. What we’re seeing with this government is that they are behind their plan. We’re seeing no accountability when it comes to the closure of baseload power stations. We have Eraring set to close now. That’s going to be 25% of New South Wales, and there is radio silence from the Albanese Government. Under the Coalition, you did not have warnings or there being shortfalls in supply like you do now under the Albanese Government. The Albanese Government is completely ideological, they are trying to pick winners. This is a big government approach. But if you’re going to play big government, well put yourself in the center of the market, you can’t wash your hands therefore when the market basically puts prices up. This is a direct result of Labor’s energies market, direct result of Labor’s suite of policies.

Reporter: Part of the problem is that export that Australia has for coal and gas. Do you think that there should be any kind of export control to keep those energy sources here on domestic shores to help domestic customers?

Ted O’Brien: Our message when it comes to gas is we need more supply in the Australian market place. And here’s the problem we have with what Labor’s doing. Everything Labor is doing seeks to restrict supply. And that is why we have had major investors calling out sovereign risk. For Australia as a proud liberal democracy and a developed economy to actually have our trading partners looking at us and publicly stating what that we now represent a soveriegn risk is a deep concern. Now here domesticly, that means when you restrict supply, prices go up. It is that simple. So if you look at what the government has done with gas as you point out, they took gas out of the capacity mechanism.

They have since actually cancelled the Energy Security Board that recommended gas be put in the capacity mechanism. They have introduced new taxes on gas. They have restricted the cap through the caps of prices of gas. They took out $100 million from gas pipeline from the budget last year. They took out $250 million when it came to CCS technology. Everything that Labor is doing is aimed at moving investment out of this country and actually restricting supply and straight economics, price is a function of supply and demand. If you restrict supply, prices are only go up. So that’s what’s happening with their policy.

Reporter: So just to clarify, when you’re saying increasing supply, you want more exploration for gas around Australia?

Ted O’Brien: Correct. Correct. We need more in this country. Now at the moment under Labor, they plan to have 80% of our baseload power exiting the grid by 2035, without any guarantee of replacement. Labor is turning off our energy system without having another one ready to fill the void and this is the problem. So it’s only going to get worse.  Australians will be paying more for less reliability. But that’s Labor’s plan.

Reporter: So Clare Savage, the head of the Australian energy regulator has also kind of agreed with Labor that the energy market interventions have helped some of the major shocks to power bills. So do you disagree with the energy regulator in that if that didn’t happen, consumers would have been handed a massive bill come their next bill?

Ted O’Brien: Again, it’s comparing a really bad policy under Labor to a less bad policy under Labor. So when people talk about prices could have been worse, those prices were estimated under Labor’s former policy so, they were never our policies and that’s why under the Coalition we kept prices down. That’s why I said before another Coalition, household prices 8% down, businesses 10% down, industry 12% down, under Labor they keep going up. Now, Labor has an entire suite of policies, put together they are restricting supply. When you do that, prices go up.

Thanks guys.

Reporters: Thank you.

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