21 March 2024


I'm very aware that energy bills are causing pain for many small businesses and households in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury. There is some hope in the draft default market offer that's just come out, which shows the retail energy bill benchmark is stabilising and trending downwards after the biggest global energy crisis in 50 years.

The default market offer is the maximum an energy retailer can charge customers on default contracts. It acts as a cap for prices for the coming year and helps people who haven't shopped around for a new electricity deal. For people in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury on the Endeavour Energy network, there are residential reductions in prices of up to seven per cent in the latest DMO. Small businesses on the Endeavour network will receive a 4.4 per cent reduction. That's a good thing, but there is obviously much more to do. What it tells us is that the coal and gas caps that we put in place, which the Liberals voted against, are having an effect. Together those caps and our rebate—that's the $500 rebate for households and $650 for eligible small businesses, and there's one more payment this financial year—those caps and our rebates, which the Liberals also voted against, entirely offset energy bills for some customers.

The reductions are also a result of reduced international pressure. We named it when it sent prices up, and we'll acknowledge it when it helps bring prices down. The decrease is also the result of a request to the energy regulator, with the Labor Minister for Climate Change and Energy, supported by state ministers, asking that the needs of consumers be prioritised, and they have been. The reduction is also evidence that we're getting more renewables into the grid, because it's simply a matter of fact that renewables are the cheapest form of new energy. Getting that new energy into the grid is our way forward. Last year alone we saw 5.9 gigawatts of renewable generation added. Compare that to the 4 gigawatts added in the entire 10 years the Liberals were in government and you might get the idea that 22 energy policies are not worth one good energy policy like the one we have. Since we came to government we've had record investment in batteries and large-scale storage, with $4.9 billion in new financial commitments, 27 large-scale batteries under construction at the end of 2023, and more than 337,000 rooftop solar systems. We're world leaders there. The Minister for the Environment and Energy has approved more than 45 renewable energy projects since coming to government and has another 128 before her for assessment. This is the energy policy we need. It will provide a secure and affordable energy future for Australia.