Mr PEDERICK: I am only just starting, so do not worry, you can have your go. I move to support this motion by the shadow minister, the member for Morphett:

That this house—

(a) notes that South Australian working families and small businesses are enduring some of the highest power prices in the country under the Malinauskas Labor government;

(b) condemns the Malinauskas Labor government for their inaction resulting in driving sky-high power prices for South Australian working families and small businesses in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis; and

(c) condemns the Malinauskas Labor government for their costly, experimental hydrogen power plant, that will not reduce power prices for South Australian working families and small businesses, as their only energy policy.

I did note that the previous contribution from the member for Adelaide was interesting, and it sounds like it was written by the minister, the member for West Torrens, or someone from his office.

Mrs Hurn interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: No dispute. There are a lot of facts around energy that were missed out.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr PEDERICK: There were a lot of facts that were missed out in that contribution, like the day we were here in September 2016 and the lights went out. Not just here—

Mrs Hurn: Who was in government then?

Mr PEDERICK: Yes, who was in government then? The Labor Party. The Labor Party presided over the only statewide blackout that has ever happened. They forget to talk about that. They forget to talk about that, and—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

Members interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: You can have a go.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Elizabeth! The member for Wright!

Members interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: They are so excited about it they want to contribute now. The whole state—you almost have to be a magician to pull off a stunt like that. It was stupid of the policy to do the early closure of the Port Augusta coal-fired power plants, and we are seeing that policy failure relate across the rest of Australia, especially on the eastern section of power that we are connected to, because of policy issues around shutting down coal too early.

People are also demonising gas, which is outrageous, because we will need gas as a transition fuel for the next 30 years minimum. We saw that with the removal of those major power plants at Port Augusta. My understanding is that when they were operating they operated under a system where there were essentially five circuit breakers for the state, so you would not lose the whole state.

What we had in September 2016 was the whole state go out. We saw Adelaide gridlocked, we saw the power out on the Far West Coast, we saw the power out through the Mid North, we saw the power out through the Yorke Peninsula, we saw it out through the Upper South-East, through the Murraylands and the Riverland and all the way down the South-East. It was atrocious to think that the government could preside over a power supply that did that to the state. It is the Labor Party that fully owns that.

As I said, some people in this place try to demonise gas. Well, we are going to need gas for a long time, and we are going to need gas alongside those privately built, built by private investment—and a lot of offshore investment has come in for the wind farms, the solar farms. Let us note that a lot of those do not go up without some opposition; some people are more than happy to get the rebates paid for these energy projects, but there are issues at times. I note that about 200 megawatts has now gone in at Tailem Bend, and that goes straight into the Heyward interconnector that goes into Victoria.

Solar and wind are great things, but they are variable, and that is why we have to have sustainable practices in place to have a level of base load power in the background. We probably need about 30 per cent to 40 per cent of base load power somewhere in the system running all the time, and that is the whole idea with EnergyConnect, which the Minister for Energy and Mining used to support. He used to support that proposal, but changed his mind completely when we took it is a policy to the 2018 election.

Thankfully it went through the processes, and my understanding is that most of the infrastructure is being built on this side of the border to New South Wales. That is a fantastic project to interconnect our renewable energy, our 60 per cent to 70 per cent of wind and solar generated in this state, to those other forms of power in New South Wales, whether that be those ageing coal-fired power stations or the gas-fired power stations, because we are linked to all that eastern grid—that is just the way it works—right down through that connector to Tasmania.

It just make sense to get this EnergyConnect interconnector in place so that when we are generating that renewable energy—and we see reports of more and more wind and solar going in all the time—when we have an overabundance of it, we can export it so that we have clean energy use not just in South Australia but throughout the country.

However, it is a simple fact that if the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining we need to get the power from somewhere else. So we are hooked up to a major state like New South Wales; obviously we have the Heyward interconnector hooked up that comes down through my area in the South-East, and you have Murraylink in the Riverland that connects through there as well, and these are vital parts of the whole connection strategy.

Then we go to this dream of hydrogen, over in Whyalla. It would be great if I could see it would work, but when I go to forums where there are very learned people from universities, professors and the like, and I ask the question, 'Will it work?', they say, 'Well, we don't know how.' That concerns me. That concerns me when you have a government that has already put up $593 million of South Australian taxpayers' money—because governments do not have their own money; they have taxpayers' money—to pay for this hydrogen power plant.

We have already seen them cut the amount of storage they are going to have, there is no money in there for transmission lines and, if you have the people who know what they are talking about saying that it is experimental and saying that they do not know how it is going to work, that concerns me—it concerns me greatly. Certainly for the proponents, the people who want net zero by 2050, we probably need small modular nuclear reactors to get us to that 40 per cent of generation, to get us through to the future, if people are deadly serious about generating clean energy and getting that net zero status.

I was pleased to be part of a government for the time we were there—would have been great if it were longer—that not only reduced power prices but did not suffer the outrageous event of having a statewide blackout in this state, and we worked hard on progressing policies like EnergyConnect, which the current Minister for Energy and Mining, the member for West Torrens, used to support.

He uses weasel words on the radio now to circle around it, but he knows deep down that that supply line, when it gets built through to New South Wales, will support South Australian private people. The hydrogen plant in Whyalla will support industry—if it works, and it is a big 'if'—but there is no promise of lowering costs for the hardworking South Australians in the general public. I condemn the Malinauskas Labor government for the way it has managed power in the state.

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