Hon Bob Katter MP
Hon Bob Katter MP Photo Parliament of Australia

I speak with some authority on this matter. When I was Minister for Mines and Energy in Queensland, we had the cheapest electricity in the world. Proof positive was that we got the aluminium industry of Australia on an aggressive footing that has never looked back, until we ran into the electricity prices. For my colleagues on the crossbenches here, I won the Australian prize for science in the year because I put in the first stand-alone solar system in the world in the Torres Strait, on Coconut Island. The world boss of GE came for the opening ceremony. The socialists who followed me put in diesel generators and I said, ‘Polluting Paradise!’ So I speak with authority.

I really have been amazed that there is not one single person in this place who has addressed the issue of why electricity prices have gone through the roof. It is not the fault of the Greens, as much as I would like to put it upon my Greens friends. They only put it up 30 per cent, but I do not think they should be proud of that. It was put up 70 per cent by the free marketeers. Almost everybody in this place seems to be a free marketeer. A famous comment by Paul Keating was that I was the last socialist left in this place. I used it as a term of abuse for most of my life.

Monopoly rent. If you play the famous game of Monopoly, you would know that, if you owned all of the utilities, you could charge seven times as much and, if you owned half of them, you could charge four times as much. Of course, there are two people in Australia who own 40 per cent of the electricity in this nation and its delivery systems, and they have enjoyed the Monopoly rent, which is 70 per cent—the increase. So we have gone from $700 for 15 years and suddenly, when we deregulated it, privatised it and corporatised it, it went straight through the roof—from $700 for 15 years, in nine years it went to $2,400.

If we had the remotest scintilla of interest, genuinely—not class warfare against my coal mining brothers, whom I am proud to say are my brothers—and if you were in any way fair dinkum, there is the great gospel, the greenie gospel, but it is also a good book in my opinion: An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. His first solution is ethanol. It is so simple to do. As the honourable member for Hobart pointed out, you are quite happy that your nation has no supply of petrol whatsoever and you are quite happy that your nation spends $23 billion a year to buy oil for petrol from the Middle East. Is that what you consider a good outcome? If you switch to 22 per cent ethanol, the same as in Brazil, the market will drive it because it is cheaper than petrol. Brazil now has 60 per cent ethanol in petrol tanks. That cuts your transport CO2 emissions by 30 per cent or 40 per cent—in one hit in your electricity

If you go ahead with Hell’s Gate in Kennedy. It is one of the prime wind locations in Australia, north of Hughenden. And there is the Kidston pumped storage. We could give you 1,000 megawatts, one-fortieth of the entire output of this nation, in renewables. If there were a scintilla of intelligence in this place—or in the Queensland parliament, more relevantly—they would say to Mr Adani and Mr China Stone and Mr Link, and all the other people who are on the Galilee Basin, ‘If you want to produce the coal and send it to a power station overseas, then you will use advanced ultra-supercritical technology,’ which cuts the output by 40 per cent—in the case of Indian coal, it is by 50 per cent—and you would say, ‘You will plant some trees.’ We have seven million hectares of beautiful lands completely destroyed by an introduced species—seven million hectares. Force them to take that out and put in spotted gums, Australian and our most common tree in North Queensland, and you will solve the CO2 problems of this nation

Chamber House of Representatives on 13/06/2017 Item MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE – Energy Speaker: Katter, Bob, MPParliment of Australia Website Copyright: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/au Transcript used for Reporting News.