MALCOLM Turnbull has come under fire for ordering an ACCC inquiry into Australia’s rising energy costs which will take 12 months to report back.
Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon called the inquiry a “lame excuse” for a lack of action on energy.
The South Australian senator, who controls three crucial votes in the upper house that the government needs to pass its company tax rate cuts or tax relief for small businesses, slammed the Prime Minister’s announcement of the inquiry today.
A year was too long to wait for thousands of Australian businesses struggling due to rising energy costs, he said.
“Having an ACCC inquiry is not going to cut it,” Senator Xenophon told reporters in Canberra.
“Twelve months is too long to wait for the thousands and thousands of businesses around this country that are on a knife-edge because of energy costs in Australia,” he said.
Australia faced thousands of job losses and falling foreign investment due to rising energy costs if the Government did not take action in the next few months, Senator Xenophon said.
“We need competitive access to gas pipelines in the country and a price signal so we can get people investing in energy markets in this country,” he said.
The crossbench senator rejected suggestions he was holding the government to ransom over company tax rates to secure a deal on energy policy.
“We have made this very clear, we will support company tax cuts for businesses up to $10 million, but nothing beyond that, until we can sort out the energy crisis in this country,” Senator Xenophon said today.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten welcomed the inquiry but said the government needed to commit to acting on its recommendations.
“Mr Turnbull needs to commit to make sure this is just not another inquiry for the sake of being seen to doing, he needs to commit to implement recommendations by the ACCC,” he said.
The inquiry will look at electricity retailers’ behaviour and consider if their profit margins are in line with their costs and risks.
It will also report on whether consumers are being presented with transparent and clear contract options.
The ACCC will deliver a preliminary report to the government by the end of September, and a final report by June 30 next year.
Online Source: The News