Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2022) . . Page.. 3231 ..
and not everyone may benefit from every collective decision. But we have regulations on utility providers for a reason. Embedded networks are taking on the role of a utility provider, so it is only right that consumers have the appropriate level of protection. I am hopeful that a review will provide us with some clarity on this issue, and quickly.
This is a topical issue, not just here in the ACT but in Victoria and New South Wales. Members may have seen the Victorian government’s July 2022 announcement to ban new embedded networks, as well as the New South Wales parliament’s ongoing inquiry into embedded networks. Down in Victoria, since 2018 the state government has taken steps to ban embedded networks, viewing the system of utility service provision as ineffective, unfair and inequitable.
To address this, the Victorian state government set up the embedded networks review panel to investigate and advise the government on how best to implement the ban. This expert panel recommended banning embedded electricity networks in new apartment buildings to ensure that all residents have access to the same competitive retail offers and consumer protections. It recommended a number of other government interventions to ensure that the electricity network market was working in the best interests of consumers. In welcome news, the Victorian government plans to legislate these reforms throughout 2023 and 2024. Premier Daniel Andrews said:
Embedded networks take away choice and rip off Victorians.
The feedback I have received from the community makes me suspect that embedded networks are operating in a similar manner here in the ACT.
In New South Wales there is currently a parliamentary inquiry being undertaken into embedded networks. Although this inquiry is still ongoing, we can deduce that, like Victoria, New South Wales also recognises that, at the most basic level, there may be problems with the way embedded networks operate.
If both Victoria and New South Wales believe that further review into embedded networks is required, then I take it as a sign that the ACT government should review embedded networks. That is why today I am calling for the ACT government to review embedded networks; to examine the appropriateness of a ban; what further regulation of embedded network providers is required; and if further consumer protections for embedded network users are required. In closing, I would like to thank members in advance for their contributions. I am sure we are all on the side of the Canberra consumer.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (3.55): Any effort to improve competition in energy markets and bring the cost of living down for Canberrans is welcome. The Canberra Liberals are not opposed to embedded networks in principle, as they can deliver a number of benefits and innovative opportunities for consumers. However, there is potential for embedded networks to have the opposite effect, which necessitates effective and clear regulation.
The current New South Wales parliamentary inquiry into embedded networks has received a number of detailed submissions from consumers, regulators, retailers,