Navigating a path through the national energy policy morass

The almost weekly major energy policy announcements by State and Commonwealth Governments in recent times brings to mind the old cliche of never letting a good (energy) crisis go to waste. Sadly, the lack of national direction and various recent uncoordinated Government policy announcements to address short term political problems could be laying the groundwork for future crises regarding the security and reliability of Australia’s electricity and gas supplies.

A tale of two stevedores – infrastructure charges

In recent months, Australia’s two major stevedores have announced increased fees for truck and rail operators accessing major city container port terminals. Such charges have become a regular feature in the Australian stevedoring landscape, much to the ire of land-side operators and other stakeholders. Where state governments have previously failed to show leadership to encourage coordinated, collaborative solutions, port managers are increasingly filling this void. We briefly examine these charges and the public debate surrounding them.

AEMC Draft rule on new obligations on electricity network businesses for replacement assets

On 11 April 2017, the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) published its draft rule determination in response to a rule change request submitted by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to extend the regulatory investment test (RIT) to replacement capital expenditure (repex) and increase transparency of investment planning information.

How the tables have turned…

At the beginning of 2016, headline figures suggested our economy was growing at a steady pace. Yet the income and wellbeing of Australians was far from rosy – we were in an income recession as deep as the one we experienced in the early 1990s recession. Almost twelve months on, the latest figures show that the Australian economy contracted in the September quarter whilst at the same time national income grew. This article examines what happened to income in the most recent quarter and why output growth does not necessarily add up to better wellbeing for Australians.

Central Elements of Effective Policy Making

This policy update provides a brief and general review of the most recent policies, strategies and initiatives announced in the lead up to the Federal election.

A central role for Government is to set the policy framework for its constituents. This is not an easy task, especially if we take into account the constrained timelines typically associated with these processes and the need to balance potentially divergent views from different stakeholders. Recent events in South Australia where the whole state experienced a blackout are a timely reminder of the complexity of this task. It also reinforces the need for policy makers to thoroughly interrogate the reasons for and consequences of its policy response given the potential consequences for consumers and economic performance.

The new Victorian Water Regulatory Framework (PREMO)

Victoria will be implementing a new water pricing framework for the next regulatory price review in 2018. The framework will apply to 16 of the State’s urban water businesses and Southern Rural Water. This briefing note summarises the impetus for the new framework, its key features and draws attention to elements that have been modified, refined or firmed up since the ESC’s May position paper.