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Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

25 November 2020

Interviewer: 
Ben Fordham

Subject: Narrabri gas project, electricity prices

E&OE

BEN FORDHAM: Well, the Upper House in New South Wales has been sitting all night, they’re still going. They’re debating the Government’s new energy bill, which will phase out coal and gas over the next 15 years. Mark Latham, from One Nation is demanding 250 amendments and at the same time, the Narrabri gas project in northern New South Wales has been given the green light. Angus Taylor, the Federal Energy Minister’s on the line. Angus Taylor, good morning to you.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Morning, Ben. Thanks for having me.

BEN FORDHAM: Good news about Narrabri?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Fantastic news. Lower prices, more jobs, jobs at Narrabri of course, but also jobs in manufacturing for having lower energy prices. 850,000 people working in manufacturing in this great country Ben, and of course, they need lower energy prices and Narrabri is one of the many projects that’s happening now to make sure we get more supply, lower prices. Enormously important.

BEN FORDHAM: They’ve had a long night in the New South Wales Upper House. They’re debating the Government’s new energy bill. You’ve been shocked by some of the details in this bill, right?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well, Ben, we need lower prices and we’ve seen lower wholesale prices for electricity, we’re seeing that now flowing through to customers. What we can’t see now, what we don’t want to see now is premature closure of coal-fired power stations or policies that are going to stop investment in new generators, like gas generators that AGL and Energy Australia are proposing. So, that has been a concern. I’ve voiced that concern earlier this week and directly to the New South Wales Minister, Matt Kean. I’m confident we can work it through, but there needs to be a relentless focus on what customer’s need, which is affordable, reliable electricity.

BEN FORDHAM: Mark Latham describes Matt Kean’s policy as an electricity tax. Do you agree?

ANGUS TAYLOR: The risk is if you see premature closure of a coal-fired power station - we saw this in Hazelwood in Victoria - the risk is it raises the price of electricity and we can’t afford to have that happen. We’re doing well in this. We need to keep the foot on the pedal and that means policies that encourage more supply, not driving out supply. So, that is the key, Ben. We’ll remain absolutely focused on this, standing up for customers, because there hasn’t been enough standing up for customers in the electricity market in the past. We will do it every day and that means working with New South Wales to make sure this policy doesn’t become a tax on consumers.

BEN FORDHAM: Great to talk to you as always, Angus. We’ll catch up soon.

ANGUS TAYLOR: Good on you, thanks, Ben.

Media contact:

Minister Taylor's office: 02 6277 7120