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Gas (Ban on New Connections) Amendment Bill

15 November 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (20:11): I think Socrates would not be able to turn this one around, based on the feedback I have heard from my colleagues. It is a shame we cannot make renewable energy from the hot air that I have heard in the chamber tonight during this debate. It is disappointing to hear once again the Labor and Liberal parties clambering over themselves to support gas and dirty fossil fuels. One of the most erroneous arguments that we have heard I think during this debate is the ongoing suggestion that gas is somehow cheaper. We know, of course, that that is simply not the case.

I want to refer the chamber to a report that was released just a few days ago by the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, which reviewed and brought together leading electrification research and looked at the impacts of electrifying the residential sector with more affordable energy efficient appliances. As part of that, the report found that in almost all contexts, electricity would cut household energy bills and that electrifying Australia's entire residential sector would save households $4.9 billion in total annual energy costs.

The author, whose name is Amelia Pearson, said that there was a time not long ago that using gas to heat our rooms, water and stovetops was the cheaper choice. Those days are now behind us and electric appliances are both more efficient and cost effective. As gas prices continue to overtake the cost of electrification, electrification only makes more financial sense for Australian households, she says. The report looked at the yearly energy savings that could come from four primary sources: gas network connection fees, electrifying hot water systems, electrifying heating and induction cooking appliances.

What the report found was that on average wholesale gas prices increased by 234 per cent over the past decade compared to 137 per cent for electricity. Gas rose an average of 6.37 per cent a year compared to 3.77 per cent for electricity, so the constant refrain made by the Labor and Liberal parties that banning gas connections for new homes is going to hike up energy prices is a pure fiction. It is not supported by the evidence.

It is disappointing that the two major parties in our state are hooked on gas, because it is bad for carbon emissions and it is bad for community health and wellbeing. A few weeks ago, we saw the universities of Adelaide and South Australia merge; now we are seeing the Labor and Liberal parties merge on this question and it is very, very disappointing.

You have other jurisdictions around the world, other states around the world, that are showing leadership on this and banning new gas connections. The ACT has done it and Victoria has done it—another Labor government—but here in South Australia you have the Labor government in the arms of the gas companies and in the arms of the fossil fuel industry and it is profoundly disappointing. The Labor Party needs to do a lot better. I will call a division so you can all justify your position to your constituents in the middle of a climate emergency.

The council divided on the second reading:

Ayes 2

Noes 15

Majority 13


Franks, T.A. Simms, R.A. (teller)  


Bourke, E.S. Centofanti, N.J. El Dannawi, M.
Girolamo, H.M. Hanson, J.E. Henderson, L.A.
Hood, B.R. Hunter, I.K. Lee, J.S.
Maher, K.J. Martin, R.B. Ngo, T.T.
Pangallo, F. Scriven, C.M. (teller) Wortley, R.P.

Second reading thus negatived.