'On the brink of disaster': Pitt's speech packs a punch
LAST night Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt spoke in Parliament about energy and called out the State Government for "robbing $1.1 billion every single year from the pockets of electricity consumers".
In his speech, Mr Pitt said it didn't matter who people were; "They cannot pay their power bills".
"It doesn't matter whether you are representing the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker; it doesn't matter whether you are representing a large organisation like Alcoa; it doesn't matter whether you are in the outback, on the coast or in the city-quite simply the cost of electricity in this country is far too high," he said.
"Look at the Queensland State Government: they own every retailer in town north of Gympie. There is only one. It is owned by the Queensland State Government.
"They own all of the poles and wires. They own 70 per cent of the generators.
"They are robbing $1.1 billion every single year from the pockets of electricity consumers in my home state, in my home town and in my electorate.
"They should be accountable and responsible for those decisions. They set the price. It is not the Federal Government."
Mr Pitt called for cheaper energy, and claimed this solution could not be found among renewable energy sources.
Shining the light on the 125-year-old Walkers Foundry, the MP said the biggest issue the facility was dealing with at the moment (in terms of viability) was the ability to pay power and gas bills.
"They have been training apprentices and trainees for over a century. They have been the driver of people with skills and with trades into our economy for over 100 years, and they find themselves on the brink of disaster because they cannot afford to continue to pay.
"We need to stand up for what is necessary to build a better country, and that is cheap energy. Intermittent wind and solar have their place, and there are lots of places where they will help and reduce the cost, particularly where there is an engagement, for example, with diesel generation, because that is a stored fuel," he said.
"But we should take those opportunities where the physics and engineering say that it will drive down the price.
"You cannot run this country on an intermittent supply through wind and solar. It doesn't matter what you may or may not believe in terms of your ideals-this is purely engineering and physics, and we have to make decisions based around those things.
"As a government, we need to decide how to drive that, and if the states don't want to get on board then we should dismantle the National Electricity Market."
Mr Pitt stressed this was the time to take action and commended Minister for Energy Angus Taylor on his decision to focus on price and reliability.
"Without them the lights will go out. It is that simple. I spoke in this place in 2015 against the Renewable Energy Target for a couple of very simple reasons. My view - and can I say in my considered, educated, skilled and qualified view - was that it would put up the price of electricity and it would be paid for by the poorest people in this country: the ones who cannot afford to put solar on their rooftops, the ones who rent, the ones who do not get the opportunity to reduce the price that they pay every single year. And that has been the case.
"We find ourselves in a position now where our economy, where our nation, where our businesses, where our people and where our seniors cannot afford to pay their bills.
"That is not helping us to drive jobs growth. That is not helping the nation, it is not helping the economy, it is not helping businesses and it is certainly not helping our exporters."