As energy bills continue to skyrocket by 20 per cent in most Australian states, research from earlier this week found that only 25 per cent of us could afford to turn our heaters on this winter.
Meanwhile, the debate continues over whether or not renewable energy policies are worth it.
Liberal MP Craig Kelly told ABC radio yesterday that “people will die” as direct result of renewable energy targets.
“We’ve seen reports only recently that one in four Australian households this winter will be frightened to turn the heater on because of the price of electricity,” he said.
“The World Health Organisation made it very, very clear that you increase winter mortality, that means you have more people dying in winter, if they cannot afford to heat their homes.”
Read more: Let’s Talk: Will you turn your heater on this winter?
The chair of the Coalition’s energy policy committee has pointed the finger at renewable energies for the hike in electricity prices and said figures collected from the Australian Bureau of Statistics could provide an accurate death toll in winter time once they were released, further proving his claims.
“There are $3 billion this year being paid in subsidies for renewable energy. That pushes up the price of electricity for the consumer,” Kelly said.
Read more: Clean energy target doesn’t do much for pensioners
The Australian reported that Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler was now calling on the Prime Minister to sack Kelly over the comments which he called the latest in a “series of baseless scaremongering”.
In parliament last year, Kelly tried to argue that the expansion of renewable energy had increased childhood drowning rates because the cost of swimming lessons was too high due to pool heating costs.
“It sends a message that instead of taking a sober, evidence-based approach to energy policy at a critical time in the national debate on this question, the Coalition instead intends to continue their four-year-long crusade against renewable energy,” Butler said.
“If Malcolm Turnbull is going to retain any credibility at this critical time of energy policy debate, he needs to act and he needs to sack Mr Kelly as the chair of the Coalition’s energy policy committee.”
Read more: Big energy body has more bad news on power bills
Ross Greenwood, Channel Nine’s business and finance editor wrote yesterday that if something wasn’t done quickly about Australia’s energy crisis, we were in danger of becoming a third world country.
“State governments are closing down power stations and people are losing their jobs,” Greenwood said.
“I’ve told you countless times that state and federal governments need to be more sensible about their renewable targets.
“I understand why we need to go renewable, but if its causing energy prices to rise this significantly, people need to step back and realise what a detrimental impact this will have on households and businesses.”
However the Greens have hit back, blaming coal for killing people, not renewables.
“Craig Kelly is just another ideologue, hell bent on hastening dangerous global warming,” said Greens climate change spokesman Adam Bandt.
“This latest foray isn’t unexpected, but it is certainly unfounded.
“If Craig Kelly and the Trumps in the government have their way, more people will die from bushfires, heatwaves, floods and famine as dangerous global warming accelerates.”