Angus Taylor, the newly appointed Minister for Energy, has said reducing energy prices will be his first order of business.
Addressing attendees at the Vodafone National Small Business Summit, Taylor proclaimed:
“As the new Minister for Energy, my first and only priority is to reduce power prices. And to do this while keeping the lights on.”
Taylor suggested focusing relentlessly on price while keeping the lights on will require some truth-telling.
“There will be no ideology, no grand gestures one way or another, just a simple, pragmatic focus on the solutions. This Government has made great strides on energy in recent times, but energy policy was bogged down for years in complexity,” he said.
“Complex scheme layered upon complex scheme. These schemes have not been designed with Australian consumers in mind. Other objectives have driven the industry to the point where we have lost sight of what we are here to do.
Taylor said the challenge is now to accept we had a mess and now is the time to fix it.
“The reason for this focus is to help people, families, small and family businesses make ends meet, and to help industry create new jobs.
“Prices are no longer sustainable – for families, for pensioners, for businesses,” Taylor said.
Taylor said when speaking to local constituents, complaints around the rising energy costs was a familiar refrain.
“When I talk to my constituents and small business owners in my electorate, and people around Australia, they tell me they want lower electricity bills. Not only want, but need. They’re struggling.
“They know instinctively that prices are too high because they remember a time when electricity in this country was abundant and cheap. They know that something has gone terribly wrong.”
Taylor acknowledged that according to recent research a third of small businesses were experiencing bill shock.
“I know that many small businesses are at breaking point because of rising electricity costs, and that job losses and closures are only a matter of time if we don’t get prices down.”
Taylor said he believes energy prices have finally turned a corner bust said more “price busting” initiatives are needed.