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Government sign landmark energy agreement.



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Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism & Resources

16 July 2004

GOVERNMENTS SIGN LANDMARK ENERGY AGREEMENT

All members of the Council of Australian Governments have signed off on the Australian Energy Market Agreement, which signifies a fundamental step towards strengthening the national character of our energy market.

“This is the first time COAG has entered into a major inter-governmental agreement in the energy sector since the Natural Gas Pipelines Access Agreement in November 1997,” said Federal Energy Minister, Ian Macfarlane.

The Agreement provides a comprehensive response to the Parer Review, including the call for open and competitive national market arrangements that can integrate the electricity, gas and renewable energy sectors.

“We now have a firm commitment from all governments, state, territory and federal, to streamline and improve the quality of regulation in the national market to increase participation of energy end users and encourage penetration of

natural gas in the energy sector,” he said.

Legislation was passed in the last sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament to establish the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and South Australian Parliament to establish the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC).

“The Australian Energy Regulator will take over the functions of some 13 regulators of electricity and gas across the nation. The bottom line is a decrease in regulatory burden, bringing easier access and certainty for investors,” said Mr Macfarlane.

“In a governance sense, the Australian Energy Market Commission is breaking new ground. For the first time in Australia we will have a body dedicated to energy market rule-making and market development.”

“These two new bodies will deliver substantial, long-term savings to the energy sector and bring about the sort of efficiencies that will make the Australian energy market a far greater place for new investment in energy infra-structure and generation,” he said.

According to industry estimates, Australia will need an additional $37 billion of energy investment over the next decade to keep abreast of growing energy needs.

The Australian Energy Market Agreement is available at www.mce.gov.au Kirsty Boazman Media Adviser for Ian Macfarlane Minister for Industry, Tourism & Resources 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444