Restoring Energy Competitiveness Critical For Business

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation, welcomed the release of the Energy Green Paper by the Minister for Industry, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP.

ACCI chief executive officer, Kate Carnell AO, said “restoring and maintaining our energy competitiveness is critical for the future of business in this country, and will be a fundamental driver for economic growth and job creation.”

“The Green Paper outlines a number of important reforms that are needed to ensure our electricity and gas markets are efficient, competitive and can contribute towards a more productive economy.”

“The focus of the paper on market based reforms and greater participation by the private sector is a positive and welcome step. The chamber unambiguously represents the views of large and small energy users and is confident that business will benefit from these reforms alongside consumers and households.”

“Unnecessarily high energy prices are hurting Australian businesses and damaging our national competitiveness. Electricity and gas prices for business have increased by 60 and 44 per cent respectively since September 2009, whereas overall business input costs have increased by only 11 per cent.”

“Lowering the delivered cost of energy and restoring Australia’s energy competitiveness through market based reforms must be a national priority.”

“The Green Paper is right to focus on the significant benefits that could be achieved through further privatisation of public energy assets. Seventy-four per cent of energy network assets and one-third of generation capacity in the National Energy Market are still publicly owned.”

“The sale of remaining government owned electricity assets to the private sector including transmission and distribution networks will deliver greater efficiencies and savings for energy users.”

“Electricity and gas are also significant material inputs into many Australian businesses. They can represent a high proportion of production costs in industries such as manufacturing and those that value-add to raw materials. It is important that we keep these costs down or further risk sending these industries offshore.”

“It is true that gas prices are likely to continue to escalate in eastern markets due to the move closer to international levels. However the answer here is greater supply and not the use of domestic reservation policies for gas, which is likely to be ineffective or even counter-productive.”

“ACCI would rather see an approach to assisting domestic gas users that focuses on stimulating gas supply and transparent, open and competitive gas markets as part of a broad energy reform program.”

“If we are serious about fixing the domestic gas supply issue we need to get serious about unlocking our rich reserves of unconventional gas. That means a sensible approach that balances environmental and community concerns with the economic and employment benefits of dramatically increasing supply.”

“It is also important Australian businesses demonstrate leadership and continuously improve our energy productivity – as a way of reducing energy use per unit of value created. That is why the chamber has recently partnered with the Australian Alliance to Save Energy in a bid to double Australia’s energy productivity by 2030 through a voluntary non-regulatory framework focusing on more productive use of delivered energy.”


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