Zali Steggall asks PM about easing cost of living through electrification

8 February 2023

Mr ALBANESE: I give the call to the honourable Member for Warringah.

Ms STEGGALL: Thank you. To the Prime Minister - the government can act on inflation and reduce emissions. In the US, the government passed the Inflation Reduction Act where over 80% of the measures in that act went to supporting household electrification and energy efficiencies which will result in huge cost of living savings. Will you implement a similar program to accelerate household electrification and reduce cost of living for Australians?

I give the call to the prime minister.

I thank the member for her question, and, of course, there are examples of where electrification can lead to a decrease in the costs of energy production, and where that is combined with renewables, particularly where you have renewables and battery storage, but I want to make this clear to the member for Warringah as well, which is this government won't be mandating what can be used in a household by individual Australians. I want to make that very clear. So, if people want to fire up the barbie, or for restaurants, if they want to use gas to produce their products, then that will be fine by us too - fine by us too. What we want to do is to be able to facilitate choice, so that for many, if they receive support in terms of programs have been done in the past whereby people can get either be it industry loans or some sort of support in order to transform their existing use of energy that can then be paid back, if you like, over a period of time then that can make sense as well.

So we understand that the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States is a major breakthrough, and we also understand that around the world all governments, all governments, are acting. The difference between the Australian government of 2023 and the Australian government of 2021 and early 2022 is that we are joining with the world, looking at best practice, looking at ways in which we can be a part of the global solution to climate change because we know that increased use of renewables will reduce the cost of energy production, whether it be for households or for businesses, which is why it is tragic that we fell behind.

Business was so far ahead of where the Australian government was which is why businesses, including peak organisations like the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and small business all it back to our plan for a 43 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. It was only opposed by those opposite.