Intervention not the solution to high energy bills

The passage of the government’s energy divestment legislation is disappointing and will not reduce power prices for businesses or households, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This legislation is an unprecedented intervention in the market, defying the advice of the consumer watchdog who called divestment an ‘extreme measure’, and puts at risk medium and long-term investment in the energy sector.

“Australians are crying out for action to reduce energy prices and meet our emission reduction targets but market intervention won’t achieve these goals. The only way to give Australian families and businesses relief is with a renewed focus on a durable national energy policy that gives certainty to the sector and encourages businesses to invest in new technology to drive down prices.

“We recognise that the government took this policy to an election but we now want to see the ACCC engage broadly with industry in a careful and considered consultation process to ensure new guidelines provide businesses with clarity about complying with these unprecedented powers.

“Business investment is already in the doldrums. The government must now ensure this dangerous precedent does not spread to other sectors of the economy.”