Statement from Sarah McNamara, AEC chief executive
We are disappointed the Government has introduced this Bill into the Parliament, not only because it represents unprecedented market intervention, but also because of the secretive way the Bill has been developed without any reasonable consultation or consideration of its impacts.
This Bill, if passed, will have far-reaching consequences beyond the energy industry. And yet, despite these ramifications and without the support of any industry body, consumer group or even its own regulator, the Government is pressing on regardless.
The ACCC concluded there was no need for these intrusive powers in the already heavily regulated energy market. It is disappointing that we are not focusing on implementing the positive recommendations in the ACCC Report which would actually improve market transparency and price outcomes for customers.
Instead the ACCC’s recommendations have been pushed aside in favour of heavy-handed and poorly drafted market interventions.
There remain constitutional issues with the Bill and it is devoid of detail, uncertain and vague to the extent that market participants could not be confident about how to comply with it.
Given the Government says it wants to lower prices and encourage investment it is hard to understand why this Bill, that would achieve the precise opposite, is necessary.
The Bill if passed would only raise risk and costs, leading to higher prices for Australian homes and businesses.
We urge the Government to reconsider the Bill and instead return to negotiations with industry to deliver better outcomes for customers.
The Australian Energy Council has welcomed the release of the Energy Security Board's options paper,which is the result of a substantial consultation process.
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