Motion Accorded Priority
Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) [3.44 p.m.]: I speak on the faux motion in its entirety that has been moved by the member for Castle Hill. I have to say that the concern and understanding expressed about household budgets of hardworking families in New South Wales seems to be a little bit mixed. I will read a statement from a great colourful brochure entitled "Rebuilding NSW" presented by the Government on 18 December 2014, which states:
Electricity network prices and household bills are on their way down in NSW and will continue to fall as a result of the AER determination ... Typical residential customers could receive the following average annual savings on their electricity bills under the AER draft determination proposals …
For Essential Energy, a $370 saving was the Government's promise, the Government's policy, and the Liberal Government's program to reduce electricity prices for hardworking families across our State. How quickly times have changed. How quickly those words have been forgotten. How quickly those principles have been so easily discarded. How is it possible to move a motion to support the decision of the Australian Electricity Regulator [AER], which would reduce electricity prices, while at the same time mounting a legal challenge to the determination by using valuable public resources? The challenge, if successful, will result in more households paying more for electricity. State budgets are like family household budgets—always tight. There are many demands on them, and of course there are many emergency and unexpected items that arise. What do we have here? We have a State Government that is using valuable public resources to mount an expensive and wasteful campaign against New South Wales households.
This Liberal-Nationals Government has the numbers in both Houses and the deal is pretty much all stitched up in the Legislative Council. The Government does not need to challenge the AER's decision, but it chooses to do so. Of course, the biggest losers are the hardworking householders of New South Wales. If the Government wants to support households, it should cease its challenge to the AER's decision. The reason it wishes to challenge the decision is that it wants to fatten or artificially inflate the cash flow and profits for the market. The Government has no concern or care for the people of our State and the household budgets that they run. I know people and businesses in Macquarie Fields that will be hard hit as a result of this legal challenge. It is not right, it is not fair, and it is wrong. I urge the Government to support the amendment moved by the member for Bankstown, support the Opposition, and support householders in our State to ensure that electricity prices remain low—as the Government promised back in December 2014.