Power to the Regions

28 February, 2024

What a marvellous member for Lingiari you have proved to be! You had big shoes to fill and you've done a great job. It's obviously your experience and your ability that has led you to this place and to you making a great contribution. Congratulations!

Regions, and particularly my region, supply the water, the milk, supply the exports and supply the electricity. The regions deliver for Australia. You've heard from all the speakers that we're not getting a fair share of the pie, and that's been argued by government since I came here in the Hawke-Keating years. But let me say this to you. Under the earth in the Latrobe Valley we have thousands of years of supply of brown coal and yet we closed Hazelwood without a replacement. We'll close another power station without a replacement shortly, and we'll close another power station after that without a replacement. If we think that wind and solar are going to do it then every report that I read and everything that I've seen says that we can't do that; the technology isn't there.

What's happening in the regions overseas? China is more than happy, as said in Chris Mitchell's article in the Australian today, to profit from countries which are willing to sacrifice themselves at the altar of the church of carbon. And they're even happier to recycle those profits in securing coal at prices lower than they would otherwise be if so much international demand hadn't been removed voluntarily from the market, like we're doing. In fact, every discussion I've had here today or listened to, especially from government members, has been the government kicking themselves in the foot. That's except for the member for Lingiari who said: 'We're not going to get these big companies. We have problems in our region because of the very make-up of the seat of Lingiari.' I think that anyone who has a regional seat knows about those difficulties of transport and opportunity—even needing to have a licence to have a job. There are all those issues, and they're the ones which become extremely important.

I can't understand why a nation such as this, with the resources that we have—like those exposed in the Latrobe Valley—can't do what the Germans have done. The Germans have said: 'We can't rely on this renewable energy; it's not working the way we thought it would work. So we have built the very best efficient coal-fired power station that we could.' It's brand-new—the Germans, in Europe, building a new station. The Chinese are building the capacity of our whole power system every week—every week! And Australia is closing ours down and we produce approximately one per cent of the world's emissions. Some say it's three per cent and some say it's one. I don't know if it's one or three, but it's minute compared to the rest of the world. The rest of the world is getting on and doing what they need to do on behalf of their people. All I'm asking for the regions is that we have the resources to fulfil the energy needs of this nation and yet there are lots of barriers—whether that be for nuclear power or new coal-fired power stations—because state governments decide what they will do with those resources and not the federal government. We can give a lead and say, 'We'll help you to pay for it,' but we have no control.

If companies have sold off their power stations and aren't fixing the existing power stations to make them last then once again Australia is kicking itself in the foot. My experience tells me that there will be blackouts, and that's when the Australian people, when they have their backs to the wall, will say: 'No, sorry, enough! We want power and we wanted today.' There are two gas-fired power stations in Victoria, and they'll be running full-time. Everyone will say hooray except for the people who haven't produced the amount of gas in the ground which we could use. There is gas in the ground in Victoria, but we're not allowed to mine it. That's because the state government says we have a moratorium on gas mining. I think that's a shame, and I think the fact that we aren't using the coal in the ground in the Latrobe Valley is a shame. It will be detrimental to this nation in the long run, and we need to do something about it.

Stay In Touch

Please contact my office with any issue or concerns you have. I am here to listen and represent you.
Contact Us
Russell Broadbent MP
Sign up here to receive the latest news from my inbox.