What a note to begin speaking on. I note the opposition come into this place suggesting that this government hasn’t done anything on energy, and they have some quite unique and novel solutions for us. I did know that the member for Fairfax was a big proponent for nuclear energy. I had not realised the member for Mallee was a fellow traveller and also a proponent for nuclear energy. Having listened to the member for Mallee explain some concerns in her electorate around renewable energy and the potential for renewable energy, I do wonder if the member for Mallee has consulted with her electorate about how they might feel about a nuclear reactor in the member for Mallee’s electorate. I wonder whether she has asked that question and whether the member for Fairfax has thought about where his dream of nuclear energy might be rolled out across Australia?
While the member for Fairfax has been travelling the world, posting videos from Hiroshima about nuclear energy, our government has been getting on with the work of securing our country’s energy supply. Our country has been getting on with doing the work that those opposite failed to do for nearly a decade. We have been investing in the supply our country needs for our future. And we know that there are very real cost-of-living pressures on Australians at the moment. Inflation is a global problem. The war in Ukraine has disrupted energy and energy supply across the world. These are real problems that our government has taken seriously and dealt with seriously, as grown-up governments do. We have not been flitting around the world filming videos at Hiroshima. We have not been pretending that our country should have a nuclear industry, an industry that all the experts tell us would be more expensive. In fact, nuclear modular reactors aren’t even commercially viable yet. Building this industry in our country just makes absolutely no sense. But do you know what does make sense in our country? Renewables. And do you know what people in this country want our government to deliver? Renewables.
I note that those opposite have been scoffing at our renewable targets and at the fact that our government is trying to do the work to transform our country into a renewable energy superpower, to realise the potential of the future that is there and to make sure that our country benefits from the transformation that is going to happen around the world and that we do not get left behind. Those opposite would have us left behind.
I was in my electorate on the weekend, and I was having a conversation with someone about what’s going on about cost-of-living pressures, and do you know what they said to me? They said to me, ‘I’m concerned that we’re not going fast enough in terms of making sure that we’re getting renewables into our grid.’ I do understand that concern. We are coming off a very low base, because we had a decade when nothing was done. We had a decade where climate change being a real thing was something you couldn’t mention in this place. We had a government that was full of deniers, and it seems the coalition are still full of deniers. Despite the message that the Australian people sent them just over a year ago, they haven’t woken up. They still come in here and they still deny that the future of this country is renewable, that renewables will be part of turning this country into a clean energy superpower and that all Australians will benefit from that.
Our government is getting on with that work. We are getting on with the work of making sure that we are doing all we can to provide relief on energy costs, and of course that’s work that we did in this parliament late last year. It’s work that, again I note, those opposite voted against. They come in here and they grandstand, but when it came to actually acting, when it came to being the adults in the room and dealing with the crises that our country faces, those people opposite failed to do it. They could not vote to provide that relief on energy prices.
We have matter of public importance after matter of public importance on a similar topic from those opposite. I would just ask them to stop and reflect and to think about their actions, about the decade of denial and drift that they left us, about the mess that we are trying to clean up and about how they could work constructively with us to do this work in the best interests of all Australians.