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Minister Kean in Parliament October 24th

24 October 2019

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (15:03:24): My question is addressed to the Minister for Energy and Environment. Will the Minister update the House on how the Government is ensuring energy security for New South Wales and downward pressure on prices?

Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Energy and Environment) (15:03:38): I sure can. I will paraphrase the Prime Minister and say, "How good is the member for Oatley?" I think he is the hardest working member of this Parliament. He may not be pretty but he is pretty effective. He has a laser-like focus on reducing household power bills. Whilst we on this side are very focused on covering household power bills the Leader of the Opposition is focused on getting Labor households to cover Kaila Murnain's power bills. I feel sorry for the ordinary rank-and-file members of the Labor Party. First they have to cop Kaila losing elections. Then they have to cop her covering up a crime—

Mr Ryan Park: Point of order—

Mr MATT KEAN: Then they have to cop her lying to ICAC—

The SPEAKER: What is the member's point of order? The Minister will resume his seat.

Mr MATT KEAN: Then they have to cop her whipping for the Leader of the Opposition's leadership.

The SPEAKER: The Minister will resume his seat. What is the member's point of order?

Mr Ryan Park: I think even you would say it is Standing Order 129. This is probably not relevant.

The SPEAKER: I will allow him a little bit more time.

Mr Ryan Park: Oh, okay. Yeah, sure. He is getting very close to being relevant.

The SPEAKER: The Minister will continue.

Mr MATT KEAN: I am getting close to being relevant but I am not quite there yet. The price that the rank and file of the ALP have to pay is Kaila Murnain's payout. They have to allow the Leader of the Opposition to pay seven Aldi bags of cash—

Ms Yasmin Catley: Point of order—

The SPEAKER: Is it a different point of order? If it is not, I will give the Minister a little bit more time.

Mr MATT KEAN: —for Kaila Murnain, Cover-Up Kaila's retirement plan. But I digress.

Ms Anna Watson: Point of order—

Mr MATT KEAN: We are focused on driving down power prices for households right across New South Wales. That is why I was delighted to announce this week the low income household rebate—

The SPEAKER: The Clerk will stop the clock. I think the Minister was coming back to the leave of the question, but I am happy to hear the point of order of the member for Shellharbour.

Ms Anna Watson: Can you explain to us exactly how what he is saying—

The SPEAKER: What is the member's point of order?

Ms Anna Watson: —what is coming out of his mouth—it is Standing Order 129—is relevant in any way shape or form? Can you explain to the House—

The SPEAKER: If the member for Shellharbour was listening, the Minister was actually starting to address the question. The Minister will continue.

Mr MATT KEAN: I was trying to tell the member for Shellharbour about the solar for low income households program that we have just rolled out. In fact, the member for Shellharbour's region will be one of the beneficiaries of this trial scheme. There are five regions across New South Wales that will be benefiting from this: on the north coast, on the South Coast, in the Illawarra and the Shoalhaven and, of course, the member for Oatley's community down in southern Sydney. It is a great thing the solar for low income households program is doing, rolling out solar panels for 3,000 households at a cost of about $3,000 for installation. The benefit of this program is that it will drive down household bills by, on average, $300. It is just another example of how we are driving down prices for low income households.

The SPEAKER: I warn the member for Swansea: Another word and you are out. You have had a lot of leeway in the past two days. Not another word.

Mr MATT KEAN: But whilst we are working for the worker, the Leader of the Opposition wants to get workers working to pay off Kaila Murnain's debts. That is the reality.

Mr Ryan Park: Point of order: This will be an easy one—it is Standing Order 129. This has got nothing to do with the former general secretary of the Labor Party and everything to do with energy and electricity bills.

The SPEAKER: I am will allow the Minister to continue, but I want him to try to be a little more relevant.

Mr MATT KEAN: The member for Kogarah and I are not the only ones who think this is outrageous. I note a great article from that great investigative journalist Andrew Clennell inThe Australian this week. He quoted former general secretary and Labor luminary John Della Bosca. The article stated:

… those who negotiated the deal had “failed in their fiduciary duty to the ALP and its members—

Mr Ryan Park: Point of order: It is a surprise one—Standing Order 129. I know it is unusual.

The SPEAKER: I have heard enough. I uphold the point of order. The member for Keira will resume his seat. I ask the Minister to come back to energy matters.

Mr MATT KEAN: I am very happy to talk about the solar for low income scheme. I am also happy to inform the House about the Emerging Energy Program that the New South Wales Government is rolling out. This is a $75 million program. It is not only about driving down prices by putting more supply into the grid but about delivering reliability into the grid. What we are doing is backing new generation going into the system, new technologies such as wind and pumped hydro and hydrogen, for example—

Mr John Barilaro: Nuclear. Nuclear reactors.

Mr MATT KEAN: The member for Monaro is very enthusiastic about nuclear. That may be part of the solution in the future. I am yet to believe that technology is quite there. However, our Emerging Energy Program is all about backing the private sector to deliver energy into the system. More supply means lower prices. [Extension of time]

The SPEAKER: The Minister has had fair leeway. I do not want two minutes of off-beam answering.

Mr MATT KEAN: I know you are very enthusiastic to hear about the Emerging Energy Program, Mr Speaker. We have rolled out 10 feasibility grants to programs from Broken Hill across to Armidale, amongst others. We are focusing on new generation capacity, bringing electrons into the system to provide more supply and drive down energy prices. It is exciting and another example of how we are driving down prices and delivering reliable energy. The by-product is that it is clean energy too, so it is a good thing all round.

We have also got the transmission strategy in New South Wales. That is about building the infrastructure to allow new generation to be able to come into the grid. The challenge in this State is that new projects are coming into regions but they cannot get their product to market. We want to ensure that they can get their product to market, which is why we will build the transmission infrastructure that they need to be able to get electrons into the market. That is a good thing. Everyone loves new things coming into the market, including comments from John Della Bosca. He said—

Ms Lynda Voltz: Point of order—

Mr MATT KEAN: "Never before has an MP or party official"—

The SPEAKER: The Minister will resume his seat while the member for Auburn takes a point of order.

Mr MATT KEAN: —admitted wrongdoing and had the party pay their legal fees".

The SPEAKER: What is the member's point of order?

Ms Lynda Voltz: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129. I am pretty sure you gave him the big hint before—

The SPEAKER: The Minister just gave us a minute of substance. I will give him a little bit of leeway. The member will resume her seat. I cannot hear the member for Auburn over members on her own side. The Clerk will stop the clock.

Mr MATT KEAN: Well the guys in the public gallery are very excited about this.

The SPEAKER: The Minister may continue.

Mr MATT KEAN: They are very excited about the emerging energy—

The SPEAKER: The Clerk has stopped the clock. I will allow the Minister to continue. The last minute of his answer has been relevant, so I will give him a little bit of leeway, but do not too much.

Mr MATT KEAN: That is another one of your excellent rulings, Mr Speaker. I have talked about solar for low income households. I have talked about emerging energy. I have talked about transmission. I have talked about all the things that we are doing to deliver reliable, affordable and clean power into the electricity system. But let me tell you what is not clean: the ALP.

Ms Sophie Cotsis: Point of order—

Mr MATT KEAN: Paying Kaila Murnain's fees was described by John Della Bosca as obscene—

The SPEAKER: The Clerk will stop the clock.

Mr MATT KEAN: —so while we are energetically delivering cheaper reliable energy—

Ms Sophie Cotsis: Point of order—sit down, Minister!

The SPEAKER: The Clerk has stopped the clock.

Mr MATT KEAN: —the Leader of the Opposition is energetically seeing Kaila Murnain's retirement plans paid out—

The SPEAKER: I will have to put the Minister on a call to order for that comment. I call the member for Hornsby to order for the first time.

Mr MATT KEAN: I am done.

The SPEAKER: The Minister has finished his answer.

Ms Sophie Cotsis: We wanted to hear more about western Sydney?

The SPEAKER: I point out that the Clerk had stopped the clock. I remind the Minister that if I ask him to sit down, I expect him to sit down. I had stopped the clock for his benefit. Have you finished your answer?

Mr MATT KEAN: Yes, I have.