The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:17 :35 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation a question about electricity.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: The Premier and this Labor government have spent a considerable amount of taxpayers' funds pushing renewable energy as an option for creating employment in the future, and we have seen the significant development of renewable energy, particularly in wind farms, during this government's term. The way that they have pushed these renewable technologies has had several unintended consequences. The most important is, namely, energy costs rising and the over-reliance on the intermittent source of energy for our baseload power generation. My questions to the minister are:
1.Is the minister aware that several South Australian-based food manufacturers are paying almost twice as much for electricity in South Australia as are similar manufacturing operations interstate?
2.What impact is the state government's decision to focus on renewable energy having on electricity prices in South Australia?
3.Can he explain why South Australian food manufacturers are paying more for electricity here in South Australia than they are interstate?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:18 :54 ): No, I am not aware of a food manufacturer who was paying double the amount—was it previously or what they are paying interstate—
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Right now.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER: —for their electricity prices. I regularly talk to food manufacturers. In the last month, I have probably been out to see half a dozen food manufacturers. In terms of the way energy is used and generated, there is no doubt we are in transition at the moment. We are seeing a transition from fossil fuels to different methods of generating electricity, and we will stand well in the future as this transition is made.
I have to say, there is a huge amount of gall coming from the opposition talking about manufacturing and jobs in manufacturing. This week marks two years that the Hon. David Ridgway's colleagues in the federal parliament chased Holden out of the country. Two years ago this week, Joe Hockey and Warren Truss dared Holden to leave, and the next day they did, so questions coming from this lot about manufacturing jobs ring very, very hollow. They chased a major manufacturing industry in this state and out of the country and now they wonder why there are difficulties in manufacturing.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:20 :10 ): Does the minister concede that South Australian energy is much more expensive than for other competitors interstate?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:20 :16 ): I already answered that, Mr President.