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Monday, 22 March 2004
Page: 26887

Ms Hoare asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 10 February 2004:

(1) Is it a fact that the supply of gas, electricity and other essential services provided in non-competitive markets where there is a monopoly provider may put industry in regional areas at a disadvantage; if so, what is his attitude to this.

(2) Is he able to say whether such providers are unfairly taking advantage of non-competitive markets.

(3) Is he aware that a manufacturing firm intent on moving to Morisset in the electoral division of Charlton has been discouraged from establishing a business due to the significantly higher gas prices because there is only one supplier.

(4) Would he consider whether such circumstances warrant the monitoring of gas prices in the Morisset area; if not, why not.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Where there is a single supplier it is unlikely that competitive forces will deliver competitively priced services. Under these circumstances it is appropriate, as is currently the case, that the ACCC regulate the provision of those services.

(2) The ACCC is currently responsible for regulation of monopoly electricity transmission assets. The Gas Code provides for the regulation of monopoly gas pipelines. The state regulator is responsible for setting tariffs on gas and electricity distribution networks.

(3) No.

(4) No. Monitoring of gas prices may not necessarily lead to more competitive outcomes.