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Censure in Minister for Energy and Renewables

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Tags: Parliament, Cost of Living, Renewable Energy

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, the Greens would like to make a comment on the seeking of leave. We will support the seeking of leave because it is clearly an urgent matter - not just because this price rise cap has come down, but we have Tasmanians living in such terrible circumstances.

At least 120 000 Tasmanians are living in poverty and every day the screws are getting tighter. The problem we have is a minister who is incapable of being honest. His portfolio has been littered with broken promises, and he repeats - and continues to repeat - dishonest statements. He was called out on this by TasCOSS just last week.

It is deeply concerning that the minister is not being honest with Tasmanians about the real situation with electricity prices, and the fact that the power is in his hands. He is capable of making the change that his Government promised. He can do it, and it is a critical issue when we have had another high power price rise of 9.51 per cent - nearly 10 per cent, on top of the nearly 12 per cent last year.

This is a crippling addition. It is bad enough that there have been price rises, but it is much worse that we have a minister who is deliberately going around spreading fake news. He should be the minister for fake news. We have called him slippery and shifty in the past -

Mr SPEAKER - Again, this is a seeking of leave.

Dr WOODRUFF - but he is constantly being dishonest and was called out by TasCOSS for it. TasCOSS called him out on multiple misleading statements in the Legislative Council and House of Assembly Estimates. This has been going on for years.

Mr SPEAKER - This is a debate about why this needs to happen today. If you could stick to the seeking of leave and not the substantive debate.

Dr WOODRUFF - It needs to happen today because we have just had another power price rise and the minister is pretending there is nothing he can do about it, and pretending they did not promise they would do something in this exact situation.

If this is not a volatile market, what is? If this is not an opportunity to legislate and cap and regulate power prices, then what is? How bad does it have to get? How much worse does it have to get, for them to take some action? Like they repeatedly promised they would - and still promise they will, because it is still on the Liberal Party's website. It is a disgrace. At least have the respect to take it down and stop gaslighting Tasmanians who are desperately wanting something to happen.

That is why it is urgent. That is why we need to talk about it today, because we are going in to a winter break - and guess what is going to happen? People are going to get smashed with another power price rise. The pathetic $250 a year that they dribble into the people who are most desperate has been called out by TasCOSS. It is essentially meaningless in the scheme of all the other price rise increases.

The Government got into office with a promise in 2018 and again in 2021 and probably the next one, that they would legislate to cap electricity prices. They are not doing it. They are saying they are doing it. It is an abject disgrace and the minister should be removed from the portfolio. It is absolutely appalling. We must have the conversation. We want to hear from the Premier. How can you sit there and have a minister who is so repeatedly dishonest, not only to parliament, but to Tasmanians, to all the stakeholder groups, more people coming in, more people ringing up in desperation? There is something that could be done and he is refusing to do it, but pretending he is going to do it. That is what is so galling. That is what is so revolting. That is why we need to hear from the Premier on this. We need to understand what is going on and why they are repeatedly pretending to Tasmanians on the one hand that they will act and then doing nothing.