Hanson Young: I rise to participate in this debate today on renewable energy. Of course, this is an issue as vitally important to my home state of South Australia as it is for the rest of the country—and, indeed, the globe—because we are confronted with the very real consequences of global warming. We are confronted every day by the fact that too much pollution is creating changes in weather patterns, such as the hurricane that we have seen devastate the Americas only in the last few days. We know that unless we get a handle on dangerous global warming, things are only going to get worse. What we have from the government is just more desire to flog coal. Let me put it here clearly today: coal is dead; finished. It is time to get your head out of the sand and start investing in the energy of the future, energy that is here already, systems and technologies that are ready to go.
The fact that this government wants to keep spending billions of taxpayer dollars propping up the failed coal industry and making climate change worse, making severe weather events worse, is absolutely criminal. We all know that one of the best things we can do to reduce carbon emissions, reduce the negative impact of climate change, is to fund clean, renewable energy sources. And we could be doing that today by investing in battery storage. One of the things that the Prime Minister could do right now is change the settlement periods for the spot price in the energy market from 30 minutes to five. Electricity prices would drop instantly—that’s what the market regulator and the commissions say. Don’t wait 3½ years to do it. Get it done now and stop funding the lunacy that is the coal industry. Taxpayer money should not be spent keeping coal-fired power stations open or exporting more coal overseas to burn the planet.