Mr DAVID HARRIS (Wyong) (14:48:1): My question is directed to the Minister for Energy and Environment. Does the Minister support the privatisation of the remainder of Ausgrid, given the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, said that privatisation is severely damaging our economy?
Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Energy and Environment) (14:48): That is a great question from the member for Wyong. It is a question on energy policy. Let me outline exactly what I support in energy policy: Reliable and affordable power for citizens right across New South Wales. We will do whatever it takes to put downward pressure on power prices in this State, which is exactly what we have done. For the benefit of the member for Wyong, electricity prices are regulated in New South Wales. I have just been going through these briefings, and there are regulations on power prices in this State.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Clerk will stop the clock. I call the Leader of the Opposition to order for the second time. I call the member for Canterbury to order for the first time. I call the member for Campbelltown to order for the second time.
Mr MATT KEAN: I am delighted to talk about energy prices in New South Wales and about electricity and energy companies. It brings me to the Empowering Homes scheme, which is a $7.9 million allocation in yesterday's budget to help with the rollout of solar panels and batteries right across New South Wales. It will help home owners to access solar panels and batteries.
Ms Jodi McKay: Point of order: My point of order is taken under Standing Order 129. This is a critical question for this State. Does the Minister support the privatisation of the remainder of Ausgrid? It is not about electricity prices. It is about privatisation. The Minister should rule it in or out.
The SPEAKER: The Minister has the call.
Mr MATT KEAN: Members on my side of the House all love the member for Strathfield. I think it is a matter of public record that she loves us as well.
Ms Jodi McKay: Point of order—
The SPEAKER: The Clerk will stop the clock. I call the member for Bega to order for the first time. I am about to hear a point of order. If members continue to interject and cause me to have to stand up they risk being removed from the Chamber straightaway.
Ms Jodi McKay: My point of order is taken under Standing Order 129 again. It was a very clear question to the Minister about privatisation. It requires a simple yes or no answer.
The SPEAKER: I understand the point of order.
Mr MATT KEAN: Is it any wonder that the member for Strathfield is talking about privatisation? She voted for Morris Iemma's privatisation of the electricity assets.
The SPEAKER: The Minister will resume his seat so I can rule on the point of order. The Minister is being generally relevant to the question, which, at this stage, is permitted under the standing orders.
Mr MATT KEAN: I am happy to talk about privatisations, because the member for Strathfield supported the privatisation put up by former Premier Morris Iemma. In fact, it is a bone of contention for half the members who are looking to support the member for Kogarah in the leadership ballot. Members opposite are the same people that supported the privatisation of this State's electricity generation assets. They prorogued the Parliament to do it without going to the people. We will go to the people, we will talk to people and we will make sure that we are putting downward pressure on power prices. We will make sure that we deliver reliable power in New South Wales. I have outlined a plan to do exactly that. That is what I am focusing on as the Minister for Energy and Environment.
As I said before, members on my side of the House love the member for Strathfield. It is a matter of public record that she loves us too. In fact, we were thinking of other members who we might be able to send from our side of the House to the other side to run for the Labor Party leadership. The member for Kiama is someone we might volunteer for such a role. We thought that might increase the IQ on both sides of the House.
Ms Jodi McKay: Point of order—
The SPEAKER: Is it the same point of order? The Minister continues to be relevant to the question.
Ms Jodi McKay: This is the fourth time the Minister has been asked about whether he will privatise the remainder of Ausgrid.
The SPEAKER: The member for Strathfield will resume her seat. I rule as I did earlier that the Minister is being generally relevant. The Minister has the call.
Mr MATT KEAN: I am not going to engage in hypotheticals. The member for Strathfield wants to play word games and put forward hypotheticals. We have got no plans to do that. This is just a silly word game by the member for Strathfield, who is having a leadership contest with the member for Kogarah. What we have is a Liberal sympathiser up against a union hater. They will do anything to not talk about the problems on their own side. We are happy to talk about our positive plan for New South Wales in the energy space. It is all about delivering reliable and affordable energy to citizens across New South Wales. I have spoken about the Empowering Homes program, a $7.9 billion program announced by the great Treasurer in this budget, that will roll out solar across New South Wales with batteries. There is a lot to do. More than 900,000 families in New South Wales are benefiting from our rebates package, such as the Family Energy rebate and the Low Income Household rebate, which is putting downward pressure on power prices. We know that about 300,000 New South Wales families could benefit also and we are encouraging them to jump on the Service NSW website.
Mr David Harris: Point of order: My point of order is taken under Standing Order 59. The Minister is teetering on irrelevance.
The SPEAKER: There is no point of order.
Mr MATT KEAN: We have got no plans to privatise Ausgrid. The only person with plans is Ryan Park. On the ABC this week he said to Wendy Harmer, "The situation is very simple: We are not opposed to privatisation as a general rule." [Time expired.]