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Government on the Wrong Track with Heavy-Handed Energy Measures

"The so-called 'big stick' measures introduced into the Parliament today unfortunately have the potential to put at risk not only much-needed investment in the energy sector, but also the jobs and wages of ordinary Australians," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2019 goes well beyond the recommendations of the ACCC's 2018 report into improving energy affordability; and has the potential to undermine business confidence both in the energy sector and in the rest of the economy.

"It is vital that all parliamentarians support a considered evaluation of this new Bill. The powers it proposes creating are unprecedented and were not recommended by the ACCC in its June 2018 report. The Bill includes a power of divestiture that has not previously existed in Australia and which was considered and rejected by the ACCC.

"Ai Group and many other business organisations have been saying for some time that measures to improve the energy market are a key component of what Australia needs to do to address the decade of inaction on energy policy. While some of the measures proposed in the Bill were proposed by the ACCC and should be supported, the Bill also tries to make up for inaction in other areas of energy policy by putting forward a set of excessive, dangerous and counter-productive measures.

"These measures would create considerable uncertainty and would set a dangerous precedent that would bear on investors in all sectors of the economy to the detriment of our ability to generate income and jobs for ordinary Australians," Mr Willox said.

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