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Josh Frydenberg - Liberal for Kooyong
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Questions Without Notice (16 February 2017)

Date: Thursday, 16 February 2017 2:59 PM
Location: House of Representatives

Mr BUTLER (Port Adelaide) (14:59):  My question is to the Prime Minister. The Melbourne Energy Institute has found that his plan to build new coal-fired power stations would cost $62 billion. Given that this cost would have to be passed on to households, will the Prime Minister confirm the cost of his coal plan announced at the National Press Club as $62 billion?

Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong—Minister for the Environment and Energy) (15:00):  It is funny—I can just say that we on this side are not the only ones in this House who actually believe in clean coal. Listen to this quote from the member for Grayndler, who said in this place:

One count was the Prime Minister suggesting that somehow I did not support clean coal technology. If he cares to check my website, he will see at least 73 speeches and press releases referring to support for clean coal technology, including me as the major speaker at the clean coal conference, …

That is the alternative Leader of the Opposition!

Now listen: we understand on this side of the House that you need to be technology neutral. As the Prime Minister has outlined, Australia is the largest coal exporter in the world. Our coal is low in sulphur and low in ash. What we have seen right throughout Asia is more than 700 of these high-efficiency low-emission power stations. So we are absolutely serious about investigating the cost of doing this in Australia. We understand that we have 24 coal-fired power stations, all of which they wanted to close when they joined with the Greens to pass a motion in the Senate to encourage the closure of coal-fired power stations.

Mr Thistlethwaite:  What does your plan cost? Why can't you answer it?

Mr FRYDENBERG:  So we are absolutely serious about clean coal technology.

This is what the Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Alan Finkel, said about clean coal technology:

…- existing coal and new coal – with CCS [carbon capture and storage] is a very legitimate low emissions technology.

We are absolutely serious about maintaining baseload power in the system. Those opposite have a 50 per cent renewable energy target for which they do know what the cost is and they do not know what the implications on the network are—and they do not even know what it is called!

We on this side of the House have a much different policy—we are technology neutral when it comes to our policies. We will not go down the path of an emissions intensity scheme and we are not going down the path of closing coal-fired power stations. We are not going down the path of a 45 per cent emissions reduction target and we are not going down the path of a 50 per cent renewable energy target.

Mr Thistlethwaite:  You can't answer it!

Mr FRYDENBERG:  We are serious about investigating clean coal technology.

I will just finish: the CO2 Cooperative Research Centre in Melbourne looked at the levelised cost of a new coal-fired power station and found that it could actually be cheaper than gas and wind.

The SPEAKER:  The only reason I have not asked the member of the Kingsford Smith to leave the chamber—he knows he has been interjecting and I have asked him a couple of times to cease interjecting—is that he is not a serial offender in that regard. But he will not interject again for the rest of question time.

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