Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has slammed the Albanese government’s plan to tackle climbing energy prices.
Speaking in Canberra on Wednesday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers responded to questioning over rising energy prices, saying the government will focus on the long-term transformation of the energy sector towards more renewable sources.
“A combination of global factors, extreme weather and policy failure has meant that electricity prices are going up much faster than we would like to see,” Mr Chalmer said.
Mr Dutton savaged the government during a segment on 2GB radio station on Thursday, voicing concerns that Australia is going down a similar path to European nations that are struggling with the energy transition.
“I think we’ve just got to hit pause for a second and really contemplate where we are in the country on the energy debate,” Mr Dutton said.
“Yes, you want to reduce emissions but we can’t go down the path of Germany.”
Germany had begun phasing the nation away from coal-fire powered electricity by 2038.
However, the government was forced into a dramatic U-turn due to its reliance on Russian gas that has put immense pressure on energy prices during Russia’s war with Ukraine.
“They’ve turned off their coal-fire generation before the technology was available to them and are paying a huge price now,” Mr Dutton said.
“You’re in a developed country talking about a blackout for a period of the day just so you can deal with the demand in the system.
“This is the year 2022, we’re going backwards.”
Mr Dutton said it wasn’t surprising that costs were being passed onto consumers.
“Wages are going up, rents going up, every aspect of business is getting more expensive, so of course it gets passed on to the consumer,” Mr Dutton said.
This week, Alinta Energy chief executive Jeff Dimery said energy prices were expected to climb by 35 per cent in 2023.
“I just don’t know how families are going to cope,” Mr Dutton said of the news.
“Businesses will just shut up shop here and start manufacturing overseas and we will lose those Aussie jobs.”
Energy Minister Chris Bowen recently announced a move to make 80 per cent of new Australian vehicles electric in the next decade.
“The technology is not there yet, maybe it’s coming and good luck but it’s not there yet,” Mr Dutton said.
“We shouldn’t be going down this path of badness where consumers are going to be copping the brunt of it.”