Dr JOHN KAYE:
My question is directed to the Minister for Energy. Is the Minister aware of successful legal action taken by the privately owned electricity retailers AGL and Origin against the Queensland regulator—the Competition Authority—which resulted in significant increases in electricity prices in that State? What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that the ability of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal—the New South Wales regulator—to set prices for New South Wales household electricity consumers is not similarly severely restricted by court action taken by the retailers after they have been privatised?
The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON:
I am not aware of the case to which the member referred but he can rest assured that I will make myself aware of it. The member knows that New South Wales has had a pricing system for some time. The Government has said that it is committed to the continuation of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and to the regulation of domestic electricity prices until 2013. A review will be conducted at that time to establish whether regulated pricing of electricity is still required in light of competition in the electricity market. The Government is committed to ensuring that this State has a rigorous, independent body to regulate prices for consumers. It is also committed to ensuring that electricity remains affordable and accessible to everybody in this State.