When this Government came to power in 2013 they promised power prices would fall by $550. Instead, on average, electricity prices are $1,000 higher a year under this Government. What we need is an urgent solution to the power crisis facing us right now. But instead what we get from this Government is all talk, all spin, all hot air and it’s my constituents that pay that price. My constituents in Windale, the poorest town in all of NSW is facing another 20 per cent power rise; really copping it in the neck.
We’ve got a Prime Minister who doesn’t care because he will be safe and comfortable in his Point Piper mansion. He’s got his solar farm, he’s got his batteries, he doesn’t have to worry about power prices going up or blackouts because he’s got his nice batteries. Well the people of Windale and the people of the Hunter region are the ones that will suffer if power prices aren’t attacked right now.
And as for a self-professed love for coalminers this Government are a bunch of hypocrites. They don’t give a damn about coalminers; they don’t give a damn about energy workers. And you only have to see their actions on Sunday: on Sunday at Cessnock we had the annual miners memorial day were we commemorate the 1,803 working people who gave their lives in northern coal mines. Where was the Prime Minister? Where was the Deputy Prime Minister who purports to represent a Hunter electorate? I’ve never seen them there; they don’t give a damn about workers or my communities except for using them as cheap props for their debating tricks.
They have no solution to the energy crisis all they care about is getting through the next week as they stumble from political crisis to the next and try and fight party room insurrections. And ultimately it’s the workers and communities in my region that will suffer because of this inaction and that’s a national embarrassment. Happy to answer any questions.
REPORTER: Are you worried about the jobs at Liddell and what will happen to the workers when that plant closes?
CONROY: Look we need to be frank about what’s happening in Liddell if it’s the best option that’s great. AGL has said it’s not the best option AGL has said they’d rather invest in a combination of gas and renewables to fill that gap in the market and that’s jobs for the Hunter. And we need to be frank about the logistics of Liddell; it’s a 50 year old power station, it is breaking down all the time.
On the 47 degree day we had earlier this year in NSW half of its capacity was out because it is an old plant. And I know for a fact that AGL is already talking to the unions and the workforce about transferring those workers, where possible, across to Bayswater so that no one has to have a forced redundancy if that's possible. We need to think about the logistics; Bayswater and Liddell power stations are right next to each other. They share the same coal mine. They share infrastructure, they share the same water resource – is it practical that we have two different companies running those power plants?
This is offering, quite frankly, false hope to workers in my community and there’s nothing more disgraceful than lying to workers and that is what Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull are doing right now. They are committing an act of shame and act of embarrassment and they are misleading my workers and that is a bloody disgrace.