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South Australia's Electricity Crisis

Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 15:17 ): I rise today to speak about our ongoing electricity crisis in South Australia, and yes it is another day, another debacle from this atrocious state Labor government. When it comes to our state's electricity crisis, it has been nearly 15 years and the blackout Premier and blackout Treasurer, who also doubles as the blackout energy minister, have absolutely no idea what is going on here in South Australia.

They blame our energy crisis on everyone but themselves. However, what Labor cannot escape are the following facts. It has imposed job-destroying ideological restrictions on the production of energy. It has put green ideology before investments and jobs. As a result, South Australia has the most expensive and least reliable electricity in the nation. That is some achievement after 15 years in government.

At the beginning of 2002, Labor promised an interconnector to New South Wales. Having failed to honour that promise, it is now making more promises: to dramatically intervene in the market, to tear up existing contracts and to expose South Australia to sovereign risk. There is also great confusion between the blackout Premier and the blackout Treasurer, who as I said doubles as the blackout energy minister. They are very confused.

The blackout Premier said he was going to abandon the National Electricity Market. He was blaming AEMO, the Energy Market Operator for our blackouts. He was so disgusted, so disappointed and so angry that he was going to remove South Australia from the National Grid, and we were going to 'go it alone'. That is what he wanted to do, and that is what he said on radio just recently.

Then, this morning, on ABC radio, the blackout Treasurer who doubles as the blackout energy minister said, 'We can't go it alone.' He says that it cannot be done. We have the Premier saying one thing and the Treasurer saying the other. These guys are not even talking to each other. What sort of idea do they have about how the energy market works in this state? This is clearly policy on the run. To have this confusion between the Premier saying one thing and the Treasurer saying another is incredibly frightening. It is clear that neither the blackout Premier or the blackout Treasurer know what is going on. In fact, the blackout Treasurer does not know what is fact, what is fiction, what is fake news and what is an alternate reality.

Earlier today, he was asked about renewable energy targets the 50 per cent state-based renewable energy target or the 23 per cent federal renewable energy target. Which one did he agree with? What was his answer? He agrees with both. How ridiculous! What does he want a 73 per cent renewable energy target? This guy is struggling like you would not believe. After 15 years in the job, he has no idea what is going on. Perhaps his plan is to keep the lights off in South Australia long enough. Perhaps he thinks that, with the lights off, South Australians will not wake up to the fact that he and the blackout Premier have absolutely no idea.

They are flip-flopping stands between jumping out of the national energy market or staying in it is evidence that they are just pulling ideas from the sky. They are making this up on the run. This is not how you run a state. And the blackout Treasurer was embarrassed again when he attacked AEMO for not turning on Pelican Point. He claimed on ABC radio that Pelican point could be fired up in an hour when the load shedding happened, when the rationalising of electricity happened in South Australia. More fake news from the blackout Treasurer, more alternate facts on the fly.

The reality is that Engie, the operator of Pelican Point, told AEMO that it could not bring Pelican point online for four hours not one hour, but four hours. Again, the blackout Treasurer is just making this up on the fly, throwing out for fees on radio, hoping that perhaps in the darkness, South Australians will not listen or understand what he has to say. Pelican point had no gas supply and no gas contract in place to turn on in an hour, so the Treasurer was just making things up on the fly. How embarrassing for someone who has been in this place for a long time and in fact been energy minister for six years.

This government has been in control of the state for 15 years and we can see the mess that is being created with our energy. Industry is suffering, BHP is looking at buying generators, businesses are looking at buying generators. The cost of doing business is just of going through the roof and it really is hurting all South Australians. What we cannot avoid other facts. When last week's load shedding occurred, wind was supplying less than 3 per cent of our peak demand. On the other hand, the coal-fired interconnector from Victoria was supplying almost 8 times as much, yet Labor continues to demonise coal. What hypocrisy, what dishonesty. We need to get the mix right but Labor is out of excuses and South Australia wants Labor out of office.

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