Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (16:46): I rise to respond to some comments mainly from the energy minister and what he had to say regarding policy going into the last election. Not only that, now he wishes to blame everyone else as to power prices and why we have this energy debacle in this state. He has said that in the past, but now he is saying that everyone supports the government's plan, the overly expensive $550 million taxpayer-funded plan. You cannot have it both ways.
The Minister for Energy has blamed everything from AEMO to generators and everyone in between for the crisis that has hit South Australia. It is the green ideology that has destroyed businesses and business confidence it in this state. Not only that, it has knocked out people who just cannot afford to pay their electricity bills. The energy minister wants to have a crack at the previous energy policy, or the lack of it—as he states it—from the previous shadow minister for energy. This was before the last election.
That is interesting because the previous shadow energy minister was the member for Waite, his own cabinet colleague, who he is now having a crack at. Again, the energy minister is trying to have it both ways; he is trying to be cute and have a crack at the opposition; and he is having a go at his most recent found friend. The simple fact is that the spokesperson on this side of the house for energy policy before the 2014 election was the member for Waite, who is now, I guess, the very good friend and cabinet colleague of the energy minister. What hypocrisy.
We have seen this state plunged into darkness because of this ideology. We have seen what happened on 28 September with the statewide blackout because of one circuit breaker, which was essentially how it worked, and the whole state went out, which is outrageous. There was a power pole breakdown 250 kilometres north of Adelaide, yet we had all the lights go out and all the transmission go out all the way to Mount Gambier. We had issues on 8 February this year when we had load shedding, and my electorate was caught up in that. It is out of control.
The shadow minister has rightly said that, for $24 million over three years, we could have supported the power station at Port Augusta. This would have been a far better and a far cheaper response from the government, as an interim measure as we transition to cleaner fuels and cleaner generation into the future. In anyone's language, $24 million is far better than committing $550 million of other people's money. It is taxpayers' money.
Governments do not have their own money; it is taxpayers' money, yet once again we see how Labor socialist governments want to splurge, throw caution to the wind and throw money to the wind. They do not care—whatever it takes. We were going to have a permanent gas-fired power station at one stage for $360 million. Now we have seen that we are going to run out nine power stations, couple them together on B-doubles and that will supposedly be the saviour for the state. However, we must be reminded that this is diesel generation, which throws their ideology right out the window.
As the shadow minister said, we will have a comprehensive policy, which will be coming out soon. We will show the way to keep the lights on in this state, to promote investment, to keep jobs in this state, to stop people exiting this state and to stop people reeling back in horror at the prospect of paying 150 per cent more for their power costs into the future based purely on unreal expectations of green energy and not taking the time to transfer in the appropriate way so that we can have affordable lifestyles, so that our businesses can function in this state and so that South Australians can have a decent future and just keep their lights on and keep their businesses running and so that the most vulnerable can at least switch on their heaters at this time of the year to keep warm.