Snowy Hydro powers Australia's future

Reliable, renewable and from the Riverina, the Snowy Hydro solution will power our national grid for generations to come, writes Small Business Minister and Member for Riverina Michael McCormack.

“…show the world what a mighty nation of thinkers and builders we are. What a fine legacy that would be for generations to follow!”

That’s a line from my first speech in Parliament, where I proudly told the story of the Snowy Hydro Scheme which sits atop the highlands of communities then in my electorate.

The speech was the start of my push for our nation to invest and build the infrastructure that would help to shape our nation for decades.

The Snowy Hydro Scheme is the largest engineering project in Australian history. It generates electricity for Australian households and businesses, and the irrigation flows for farmers in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

And as I said in 2010, “it was built by people from 32 countries, many of whom had been at war with each other only a few years earlier, and it had a significant effect on the cultural mix of Australia”.

The project created jobs and stands today as a symbol of what Australians can achieve through leadership and determination – the same leadership and determination that is being shown today by the Government through its investment in the expansion of Snowy Hydro.

As Australian households and businesses experience high power bills and unreliable supply, the Coalition Government has stepped in with a two billion dollar investment to increase energy production by fifty percent – the equivalent of power for 500,000 households. 

That’s 2000 megawatts of renewable energy added to the National Electricity Market. It is reliable, renewable and from the Riverina.

Australians deserve the confidence that when they flick the switch, the power will come on. In winter homes should be warm and year-round bills should be affordable.

So too Australia’s small businesses – the ones left counting the cost of reckless energy ideology – need reliability and confidence to hire Australians and have a go.

The Coalition Government’s announcement of Snowy Hydro 2.0 is that very game-changer. It is an example of the investment I was calling for in my maiden speech and have continued to fight for in Parliament.

Increasing Snowy Hydro’s capacity will create jobs, and bring confidence and affordability to a sector which is desperately in need.

As the Federal MP with Snowy Hydro in my electorate until a boundary change last year, I have spoken locally and in the Parliament of its amazing capacity, and I am proud to serve in a Government with the leadership and determination to continue to build this capacity.

The task of energy security – ensuring it is available and affordable – is a challenge to which this Government has risen. Through this investment, the Government has turned the ideology off to keep the power on.

We know there is an amazing capacity in Australia – that our hydro-electricity generation remains an international benchmark for reliability in renewables – and we will keep the power on for years to come.

What a fine legacy it will be for generations to follow! 

Michael McCormack is the Federal Small Business Minister and The Nationals’ MP for Riverina. 

Cristy Houghton