Emergency Services

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:05): I rise to support the motion of the member for Morphett:

That this house—

(a) condemns the state government for increasing cost of living pressures on South Australian families and businesses; and

(b) supports significant reductions in the impact that emergency services levy changes have on South Australian families and businesses, whilst at the same time ensuring proposed budgets for emergency services are maintained.

Let's reflect on what has been going on in this state over the last 15 years, but more so in recent times—the increased impost on the poor citizens of this state in regard to high electricity, water prices and state taxes and charges.

High electricity prices are bad enough, but we also have the least reliability of any state in the nation and we are the laughing stock of not only the nation but the world. We are supposedly a First World economy, but we are below Third World status in the way our power supply has been managed by this government.

Sometime in the not too distant future—and they may have had these thought bubbles in the Labor government cabinet—the offer by Alinta to keep the Northern power station going and to support the Leigh Creek coalmine to keep that plant going, and what was offered, was probably a cheap exercise. We have seen carnage to our community since the Northern power station has shut down over 500 megawatts of base load power supply to our state. Not before, but ever since then we have seen unprecedented breakdowns in the electricity supply to this state.

Who in their right mind would have one circuit-breaker for the whole state that blows out the whole state when some pylons blow down 250 kilometres north of Adelaide and are lost? It is outstanding in its idiocy, but that it is what happens because of this green ideology that we must be striving for 50 per cent wind power. We saw what happened last Wednesday, when there was load shedding—and my community suffered load shedding—

Mr PEDERICK: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, I was just trying to defer the feeble attempt of having a crack at me from across the chamber.

There are many areas in my electorate, including Murray Bridge, that were part of that load-rationing process, and they were angry. It was 42°, and for about 40 minutes they could not have their air conditioners going. It is not unusual to have temperatures of 42° in this state, it is not unusual at all—and this was the first day. This shows the sheer incompetence of a government policy that has driven this state into the darkness for investors, for businesses and for people just trying to live, including retirees who need their vital electricity just to stay alive. It is completely outrageous.

Hazelwood, the power station in Victoria, is shutting down at the end of next month, and I warned about this before in this place late last year. It is stipulated in their forward contracts that their power prices are going up between 100 and 150 per cent because of the ideology that is killing off the base load power we are connected to that supplies, from Victoria, about 23 or 25 per cent of our current electricity needs. I am afraid that after March comes along we will all be living in caves. As I asked the other day: what came before candles? Electricity.

This is what this government has driven us into: the dark ages. Not only that, they slug us for the emergency services levy, which goes up every time there is a major fire. Every time, the Treasurer uses it as an excuse to suck more money out of the populace of South Australia. It keeps being ripped out of their pockets. When we get into government, by $90 million a year we will reintroduce the remission, saving the average household up to $150. This will help ease the unemployment rate in the country, put money back into the pockets of South Australians and help create jobs. This is what we need to do going into the future.

This state is heading into an even bigger black hole as we watch what is happening with the power crisis and as people are taxed into oblivion. Another tax that people are being taxed to death with is the natural resources management levy. Instead of coming out of general revenue, we are paying for the staff at the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. It is absolutely outrageous that the people of this state are being taxed into oblivion. In March 2018, they will vote and they will have their say.