Question Time: Energy Prices

Ms LUETHEN (King) (14:26): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister please update the house on how the state government's policies are cutting energy bills for South Australians? With the leave of the house I will explain.

Leave granted.

Ms LUETHEN: The Essential Services Commission of South Australia's energy retail price offers comparison report, released in August, shows that the average South Australian residential market offer for electricity went down by $96 in 2019-20, continuing a downward trend since the election of the Marshall Liberal government.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:27): I thank the member for King—the incredibly capable, hardworking member for King—for this important issue. There are many important issues in her electorate that she fights for and cost of living is certainly one of them. As she has highlighted, a $96 decrease in the cost of electricity on top of a $62 decrease in the cost of electricity in the previous year is very significant for South Australia. It is a decrease in the cost of electricity of $158 over the last two years for South Australians.

It certainly compares, unfortunately for those opposite, very unfavourably against what South Australians saw in the last two years of the previous government, which was a $477 increase. The last two years of the previous government saw a $477 increase in the cost of electricity and the first two years of the Marshall Liberal government have seen a $158 decrease. We are delivering on our commitments to reduce the cost of living for South Australia and these figures are independently assessed by the Essential Services Commission—very important.

Our policies—the Home Battery Scheme, grid-scale storage scheme, demand management, interconnection—are working very well. We are very close to having final submissions into the Australian Energy Regulator from ElectraNet and TransGrid for the proposed interconnector. It's fantastic to have the federal government's public support for underwriting so that we can continue to keep this project on track time-wise for South Australians so that the benefits can continue to flow.

It's particularly positive also to have the South Australian government supported not only by the federal government but also by the Infrastructure Australia group, by the Clean Energy Council, by Beyond Zero Emissions and by Greenpeace saying this is a positive project. The only people who don't think this is a good project are those opposite.

It has been a flip-flop for them of course. They used to support this project and when, out of an abundance of goodwill and doing the very best thing we could from opposition for South Australians, we said that we thought interconnection was good also, those opposite when in government then said, 'Well, then we don't like it. If they like it, we don't like it.' It is pure politics. That's exactly why we saw more and more blackouts and higher and higher electricity prices under those opposite, and that's why every single one of us, including the member for King, is doing everything that we possibly can to support South Australians with cheaper electricity prices.

Those opposite really just need to get onboard. You really do just need to accept the fact that the policies that are being put in place at the moment are working. They are working. They are good for South Australians, and those opposite should just get out of the way and let us get on with it or, at the very least, just say, 'Yes, actually those policies are good.' Those opposite should go back to their previous position on the interconnector and say, 'Yes, it's a good thing,' because they are the only ones who don't like it at the moment, and the only reason they don't like it is for pure politics.

What we are doing to raise the standard of living, partly through decreasing the cost of living, more jobs, more investment, etc., is starting to work and we are not going to stop. We are not going to stop. The member for King and every single one of us is determined to continue the downward trend of electricity prices that has already started.