Big stick energy laws to hit parliament

But industry says energy legislation creates uncertainty

News
MPs will be asked to consider "big stick" legislation that threatens to break up power giants.

MPs will be asked to consider "big stick" legislation that threatens to break up power giants.

Aa

Legislation targeting energy companies will be introduced to federal parliament today.

Aa

Household power bills will again be central to political debate as the coalition prepares to revive federal legislation targeting energy companies.

The so-called "big stick" legislation which threatens to break up big power companies if they are found to be jacking up prices, will be introduced to the lower house on Wednesday,.

It's not yet clear how the revived legislation will differ from draft laws the coalition introduced to the lower house last December, which lapsed at the election.

Labor is yet to see the refreshed bill, but Energy Minister Angus Taylor is positing it as a "crucial test" for the opposition.

"The government is sending a clear signal to industry about what the Australian community expects," he said.

"The bill will ensure energy companies play by the rules in the retail market by requiring them to pass on cost savings to consumers."

Both Labor and the energy sector will pore over the bill to see if it's different to the version they opposed last year.

"I do note that the Liberal Party is hopelessly split on the so-called 'big stick' legislation," shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Tuesday.

Both the energy industry and the business sector argue the proposal will scare investors away and therefore lead to a rise in power bills.

"It simply creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and it heightens risk in the industry, and what that means is higher costs for everyone," Australian Energy Council chief Sarah McNamara told ABC News.

She says the laws are being pushed for "political purposes", arguing the bill hasn't been put together in response to any known misconduct.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the plan needed more work, offering to help the government on the legislation.

"We don't agree with this legislation, we don't think it's the right way to encourage investment," she told ABC radio.

Meanwhile, a new report has found the ACT is the first major jurisdiction outside of Europe to transition from fossil fuel-based electricity supply to 100 per cent renewables.

A new agreement beginning next month with a South Australia-based wind farm will see the national capital achieve the target by next year.

Chief minister Andrew Barr is set to launch the Australia Institute report on Wednesday at the territory's legislative assembly.

Australian Associated Press

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by