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Business of the Senate

Notices of Motion

Notice given 21 June 2012

Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Milne): To move—That the following matter be referred to the Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by 23 August 2012:

The causes of electricity bill increases and options to moderate future increases, with particular reference to:

(a) identification of the key causes of electricity price increases over recent years and in future projections;

(b) whether the current electricity market objectives, and governance and regulation structures have been and will continue to be effective at moderating costs and serving their intended purposes;

(c) the accuracy of past electricity demand projections, the impact of declining wholesale electricity prices and the role of energy efficiency;

(d) barriers to reform created by the National Electricity Market institutions, including state-based regulators, the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), and whether the reach of the AER is unnecessarily restricted;

(e) the difference in cost drivers between private and government-owned transmission and distribution businesses and the significant decline in the productivity of these businesses;

(f) the impact of state and federal government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support renewable energy and energy efficiency in light of market externalities, broader social and economic benefits and whether market objectives should be reconsidered in light of these benefits;


 (g) whether or not network reliability standards are unnecessarily high, and whether there are benefits of moving to a more sophisticated probabilistic approach to reliability standards, including more appropriate metrics of value of unserved energy and value of customer reliability ;

(h) the effects of the imposition of obligations on electricity distributors for minimum targeted levels of ‘demand management’ and consumer energy efficiency schemes;

(i) the benefits of decoupling the profits of electricity distributors from the volume of energy supplied;

(j) the materiality of ‘merit order’ based price reductions in the wholesale energy market from increasing levels of distributed generation;

(k) regulatory and other barriers relating to the connection processes for embedded generators;

(l) the potential to shift from an energy-only market to markets in both energy and capacity, to restrain price volatility, ensure resource adequacy, and foster the development of a broad, competitive mix of generation and demand-side resources;

(m) the potential for increased funding of, and capacity for, consumer advocacy to reduce bills through countering the lobbying of market participants and networks;

(n) the need for a government agency to coordinate and promote energy savings, demand management and distributed generation;

(o) barriers to reform of the energy markets and systems in Western Australia and the Northern Territory; and

(p) any related matters.

Notice given 27 June 2012

*2  Senator Rhiannon: To move—That the following matter be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 December 2012:

The administration, management and objectives of Australia’s overseas development programs in Afghanistan in the context of the ‘Transition Decade’, including:

(a) an evaluation of Australia’s bilateral aid program to date in Afghanistan;

(b) an evaluation of the interaction and effectiveness of Australia’s bilateral aid, multilateral aid, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and other Australian government departments delivering aid;

(c) the means to most effectively address the Millennium Development Goals in Afghanistan;

(d) how to guarantee the safety of all workers involved in the delivery of Australian aid programs in Afghanistan; and

(e) any other related matters.