2022 Elections: Josh Frydenberg and Jim Chalmers argue at the National Press Club

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers had a heated debate, which included barbecues on electricity prices.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says getting the transition to renewables “right” is key to keeping electricity prices low, while his Labor counterpart has promised to “get on with the job” of switching to cheaper energy. and cleaner.

Mr. Frydenberg and shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers clashed Wednesday in a debate at the National Press Club in which both were asked what they feared the other would do if he was elected, after failing to outline new policies to cut spending. .

“The biggest risk here in this election is another three equal years,” said Chalmers.

“Now, only a liberal government, a liberal treasurer, a liberal prime minister this out of this world would see the inflation numbers, the real wage numbers, the rising interest rates, everything else, and think that what Australians really need is pretty much the same. “

But Mr. Frydenberg said he believed the Labor Party could not be trusted on spending.

“What he is telling you today is not what you can believe,” he said.

“My biggest fear is that if Labor overstepped the line, they would revert to their natural instinct to tax more and spend more.”

Mr Chalmers accused Mr Frydenberg of “lying” after claiming that Labor “would tax more and more”.

Amid predictions that households will face higher electricity bills over the months due to soaring wholesale energy prices, Frydenberg and Chalmers were asked to outline their plans to prevent prices from soaring.

The price of black coal has reached near record highs.

“So commodity prices have gone up and coal is one of them and that’s largely due to what happened in Ukraine,” Frydenberg said.

He said it is crucial to achieve the “right transition” as we move towards net zero emissions.

“One thing you need to do well is that transition to more intermittent energy sources,” he said.

He pointed to the closure of Hazelwood in 2017 which led to an 80% increase in Victoria’s wholesale prices.

“So our goal is a proper transition, ensuring dispatchable energy like gas, introducing more renewables into the system, having reserve depots like hydroelectric pumping and Snowy 2.0, all of which will hopefully facilitate that transition because we are inevitably there. moving to a lower carbon footprint, “he said.

Chalmers said this is a long-term problem and requires a long-term policy that should not be based on immediate price spikes.

“We all recognize that at least the major parties recognize that there will be a mix of energy sources and that the mix will change over time,” he said.

But he said things weren’t moving fast enough.

“One of the reasons we need a Labor government and a key part of a better future for this country is to finally get on with the work of seizing this incredible opportunity that we have,” he said.

“Probably the most important opportunity we have as a country and as an economy is to grab this thing, because if we get that cleaner, cheaper energy, we will unlock investments worth tens of billions of dollars.

“We will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and make energy cheaper, from retirees to working families to businesses.

“If we miss this opportunity, we should put our heads down in shame, but that’s what’s happening.”

Originally published as Election 2022: Josh Frydenberg and Jim Chalmers compete at the National Press Club

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