Statements by Senators – Energy, 8 March 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (13:48): Australia is an energy-rich nation. We are blessed with natural resources, such as an abundance of coal. This is what other countries can only dream of. As a result, we should always have reliable, abundant and very cheap power. If Mr Albanese wants to deliver on his promise of a $275 power bill cut, let’s add some coal.

I recently inspected Energy Australia’s coal-fired power station at Yallourn, Victoria. This site provides power to hundreds of thousands of people, but it will be closing in 2028. Instead of building a new power station, the green energy movement would rather replace this with costly and unpredictable wind and solar alternatives, and a battery which is estimated to hold enough juice to power homes at night for only several hours. Rubbish! There’s obviously not going to be enough, and it is unlikely to meet our power needs into the future. We need sufficient electricity to keep homes and businesses running and powered up 24/7.

The movement towards wind, which is useless when the wind is not blowing, and solar, which is useless at night or when it’s overcast, is going to result in more expensive and less reliable power. I have been speaking in this place, time and time again, about the importance of reliable and efficient futureproof technology. We need to move away from this fantasy of net zero, but, if the government is so hell bent on shutting down coal power, we should at least investigate modern nuclear technology, which can—and will—provide steady and reliable power, into the future, to keep our lights on and keep our manufacturing going.