SUBJECTS: Liddell Power Station; Energy Policy
WEDNESDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2017
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: Malcolm Turnbull demonstrated again yesterday that he is prepared to do and say anything to cling to power, first demonstrated by his decision to keep Barnaby Joyce on the front bench, in the Cabinet and in the position of Deputy Prime Minister and now he is perpetrating what I think is a cruel hoax on the communities I represent by suggesting that he has some plan to extend the life of Liddell Power Station. Malcolm Turnbull has no plan, he has a phone call. A discussion and a phone call we now know he misrepresented. Malcolm Turnbull, if he has a plan then he should bring the plan forward and let us have a discussion about it. But he has no plan. At 3 o’clock he said one thing, and that is he is in discussions with AGL. By 6 or 7 o’clock last night it was another thing, when he was saying he is now in discussions about someone else buying the power plant from AGL.
Malcolm Turnbull has to start taking responsibility for the energy crisis we are facing, an energy crisis which began five years ago when Tony Abbott began unravelling the market mechanism Labor had put in place to deal with carbon and climate change in this country. A mechanism supported by John Howard, Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and now of course Bill Shorten. Malcolm Turnbull needs to return to what he used to believe in, and that is a proper energy policy taking into account a price mechanism for carbon constraint and allow investment in this country to flow again.
The Hunter stands well placed to remain the powerhouse of NSW and indeed this country. There are plenty of opportunities there. But the least likely opportunity is the extension of the Liddell Power Station, a plant which is now almost 50 years old. The Hunter communities have come to accept this but again Malcolm Turnbull has decided, in a desperate attempt to cling to power, to perpetrate this cruel hoax upon those communities.