TRANSCRIPT - ENERGY SUPPLEMENT - LOGAN - 20 SEPTEMBER 2017

September 20, 2017


SUBJECT/S: Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to axe the Energy Supplement to pensioners, Energy Prices, Clean Energy Target.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks very much everyone for coming here to Woodridge in Logan City and thanks to Jenny Macklin for coming back here again. She’s been here many times over the last four years and it’s great to have her here again today.

We have hundreds of pensioners and seniors here today with a very simple message for Malcolm Turnbull: get your hands off the pensioner Energy Supplement. Stop taking money from older people and pensioners to give it to your rich mates in big business. Stop saying to the Australian people and particularly to seniors that we can’t find $1 billion for the pensioner Energy Supplement but we can find $65 billion for a tax cut for multinational corporations and the big four banks.

We have a Turnbull Government which is paralysed by indecision and division, we’ve got Tony Abbott out there again threatening to cross the floor over energy, we have a Coalition party room under Malcolm Turnbull which is deeply divided over energy and that’s preventing Australia from solving this energy crisis that has grown under Malcolm Turnbull’s watch.

Malcolm Turnbull promised that energy prices would come down instead energy prices have gone up. And we won’t solve that problem by doing what Malcolm Turnbull wants to do which is to take $14 a fortnight off seniors like those that Jenny and I are meeting today.

The only way to solve the energy crisis in this country is to get investment in energy.  The only way to get investment is to get certainty. The only way to get certainty is to agree a policy framework and that will not happen with the Coalition under Malcolm Turnbull, which is paralysed by indecision and paralysed by division. Tony Abbott’s latest outburst is just the latest example of that. This is why the Turnbull Government when it comes to sky rocketing energy prices is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

JENNY MACKLIN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES: Thanks very much Jim and I’m very pleased to be in Woodridge with Jim Chalmers today. As you can see behind us, you can see hundreds and hundreds of pensioners who have come along here today to send a very clear message to Malcolm Turnbull: make sure that we can keep our energy supplement, make sure that we can afford to pay for our energy bills, take the cut to the Energy Supplement out of the Parliament and out of the Budget, for good.

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have been trying to cut the Energy Supplement for years. So far, fortunately they have failed. Labor has managed to stop that cut getting through the Parliament.

These pensioners behind us cannot afford to lose more than $14 a fortnight – that’s for a single pensioner. That’s what the cut will be if Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison got that cut through the Parliament. This Government had planned to make that cut happen from today. Today is the day that the cut to the Energy Supplement was supposed to happen. We have managed to stop it happening, we’ll do everything we can to stop this cut going through the Parliament so that pensioners are protected and they get that extra help that they need with the cost of their energy bills.

As Jim Chalmers has said what pensioners need is help with their energy bills, what they don’t need is a perpetual argument between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. Get this cut to the Energy Supplement out of the Parliament once and for good, so that pensioners have got some certainty that they’ll be able to keep this money in their purses and wallets. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: Isn’t there an argument that if it isn’t affordable for the recipients - isn’t this just sound economic management to cut something like this?

MACKLIN: I suggest you put that question to one of the pensioners behind us. What we know is that pensioners rely on this $14 a fortnight to help pay for their energy bills.

Energy bills are going up, it’s a bit rich for Malcolm Turnbull that he wants to help with the affordability of energy prices while at the same time he’s trying to take $14 a fortnight off some of the most vulnerable people in this country.

We know that the Government has a choice in front of it. They can stop giving a huge tax cut to the top end of town and make sure that pensioners keep their Energy Supplement

JOURNALIST: What’s the solution? You’ve talked about investment and certainty and policy frameworks, but what do you mean by that?

CHALMERS: Well the most important thing that we can do as a country is to implement the Clean Energy Target. That would send a signal to investors who want to invest in the energy market in Australia that they have stable and certain environment that they can invest into. And what we have instead of getting that Clean Energy Target, which has been recommended by the Chief Scientist of Australia.

Labor has said to the Government that we are prepared to sit down and come to agreement on a Clean Energy Target. The only thing that’s preventing that from happening is Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to lead and the deep divisions within the Liberal Party room that we’re seeing again today with Tony Abbott’s outburst.

If we had a Clean Energy Target then business would invest in energy resources in Australia, especially renewable energy assets. That would over the medium term have the capacity to bring down prices.

There are a whole range of things that we should be doing and Bill Shorten will be making some important announcements shortly about the gas market, in particular. The most important thing that we can do is have a Clean Energy Target, give business certainty to invest and that’s how we replace some of these aging energy assets which have been in the energy market for 50 years or so, which were always going to have an end of life, we replace them by giving investors the certainty that they crave.

ENDS

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