Mr PEDERICK: Can the minister advise how Project EnergyConnect will cut electricity prices for South Australians?
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:02): Thank you to the member for Hammond for the question—and, yes, I can. Our policies are multifaceted with regard to making electricity in South Australia cleaner, more reliable and cheaper. One of the key planks of our energy policy is Project EnergyConnect, an interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales.
Progress towards that project becoming a reality took a very important step forward just recently, with ElectraNet and TransGrid putting their final costings into the AER for approval. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) still does have the final right to approve or assess and approve and put its opinion forward on its project—but another very important step forward. This interconnector is important for a range of reasons.
Those opposite have a very narrow view of energy policy, and that's one of the reasons that they were one of the worst governments in the history of the state with regard to energy policy. That's why they delivered a statewide electricity blackout and that's why they delivered ever-increasing electricity costs for South Australian households and businesses. We are turning that around. We have already, in partnership with industry, provided $269 average per year savings per household electricity. Emissions are reducing and reliability is improving.
Those opposite would see an interconnector as just a conduit to get electricity. How wrong they are. An interconnector with New South Wales of course will deliver electricity into South Australia at times, but we will export far more renewable energy from South Australia into New South Wales than we will import. That will create jobs. We have about $3 billion worth of projects on the books at the moment, and there's approximately $5 billion worth of energy projects to be developed in South Australia waiting on the delivery of this interconnector. This is a huge opportunity.
Those opposite also would be unaware of the fact that an interconnector provides enormous benefits with regard to stability of the grid—the ability to quickly import, quickly export electricity to help with voltage and frequency control. So, as the former Minister for Energy sits on the other side of the chamber and laughs, what he's actually trying to do is hide his shame. He's trying to hide his shame. He was the one in charge at the time when electricity prices skyrocketed and all South Australians suffered.
We take every day very seriously with regard to electricity policy. We were left a mess. We are doing everything we possibly can to deal with it, and the interconnector will be a huge plus. We have invested money in early works so that, when the go-ahead is provided by the AER, we are on track with regard to the development of this very important project and we can bring the time line forward.
It wasn't that long ago that those opposite thought the interconnector was a good idea. When they were in government, they liked it. Then, when we announced it from opposition as part of our energy policy, they didn't like it. Now our energy policy is going pretty well, they then said, 'Actually, we didn't oppose it.' So those opposite are at sea when it comes to energy policy, they are at sea when it comes to their position on the interconnector, they are at sea with their energy policies to the point where, in the one poor uncosted policy—
The Hon. S.C. Mullighan interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Member for Lee!
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: —the generator that they wanted to deliver, which is in exact opposition to their logic before the last election—
Mr Brown interjecting:
The SPEAKER: Member for Playford!
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: —they are using our jobs figures to support their energy policy. We wait for the AER's decision.
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