The Federal Government should drop its plans to introduce the Electricity Price Monitoring and Response Legislative Framework Bill 2018 in its current form, Australia’s largest and most representative business voice, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said today.
“We strongly support action by the Federal Government to reduce the cost of energy, but the granting of forced divestment powers to the Federal Treasurer is not the way to do it,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said today.
“The Australian Chamber agrees with the ACCC’s concerns that the market concentration of electricity generation assets may be contributing to a lack of market competition and therefore higher prices. However, forced divestment was not part of the ACCC’s recommendations to boost competition.
“The granting of such executive powers would create additional uncertainty within the Australian business sector and may diminish investment in Australia’s electricity sector at the very time that greater long‑term investment is required.
“Affordability and reliability must be at the heart of energy policy in Australia. At the same time, we need a long-term, bipartisan, nationally agreed policy solution to meet Australia’s emissions reduction commitments.
“That’s why the Australian Chamber continues to support the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) – which addresses reliability, price and emissions reduction – in conjunction with many of the ACCC’s proposals to address competition, as the best path to solve Australia’s energy crisis. In other words, NEG plus.
“We encourage the Government to work across the political divide, with the state and territory Governments, and with industry, to deliver a long-term, bipartisan and nationally agreed policy solution to Australia’s energy crisis so households and business can be certain they will be able to keep the lights on and doors open, now and into the future.”