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STATE DEVELOPMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE Report, Motion to Take Note Mr HART (Burleigh—LNP) (3.15 pm):
There can be no more damning report into the Labor Party’s use of electricity as a secret tax than the Auditor-General’s report No. 9 of 2017-18 titled Energy: 2016-17 results of financial audits. When you look at this report, it shows that electricity profit is up 45 per cent in that year alone and income is up 21 per cent. This is inside all of the energy businesses of this government. We have already heard from members on the other side that they own the assets. The government owns the assets, so it is the government’s responsibility to take care of the people of Queensland. What they have been doing instead is using electricity as a hidden tax. If you look at the budget papers, it shows that in 2016-17 this government expected to earn $482 million from the generation of electricity, but in the next year it showed that the estimated actual was $892 million. That is a jump of $410 million in one year. In the next year’s budget, when we get the real figures and the actual amount of money that these companies earned, it was $1.24 billion. The Treasurer, as a shareholding minister in these entities, tripped over and found an extra $800 million. An opposition member: There it is!
Mr HART: There it is! They just found it. Conveniently, that $770 million is exactly the same figure they needed to pay off the Solar Bonus Scheme. I understand those members opposite do not understand how the Solar Bonus Scheme works. We saw that during the debate on the electricity bill this morning. We saw member after member from the other side try to explain exactly how these systems work, and they do not understand. We saw the member for Mount Ommaney, who is on the committee, stand in this place and tell us that the oversizing of solar panels is adding more solar panels and a bigger inverter to the system, and that causes you to lose your Solar Bonus Scheme payment. That is not what that legislation is about at all: it is about oversizing the actual panel if you have to replace it. Here we have members of the committee—and, especially disappointing, the chairman of the committee—who do not understand the non-reversion policy. They got it completely wrong. They completely messed it up. That is the problem with this government: they are using electricity as a secret tax and they are trying to hide it from the people of Queensland. They are not being honest with the people of Queensland. Instead, they are giving back little bits of subsidies—$50 here and $50 there— but they are ripping money out of the pockets of Queenslanders. Some people are turning off their lights at night and not running their air conditioners during summer because this mob opposite thinks it is okay to rip off people when it comes to electricity. The people of Queensland are sick and tired of this. They are sick and tired of Labor blaming everybody else for its mistakes. We have to remember that over the past 30 years Labor has been in government for 25 years. It is a bit rich for those on the other side to try to blame everybody else for their mistakes. They are the ones who have been ripping off the people of Queensland for the last 25 years.
The people of Queensland are awake to it, and they are coming to get those opposite at the next election. We will be reminding them every day of what the Labor Party has done when it comes to using electricity as a hidden tax and selling assets. Those opposite accuse us of selling assets, but we sold nothing. Those opposite sold Queensland ports, Queensland forestry and Queensland Rail. They sold just about everything that was not nailed down. There was some renewable energy owned by the Queensland government. Guess what it did with that? It sold it! Then it wants to create CleanCo—$250 million of unallocated money that it does not have— (Time expired)