Page 1919 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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Madam Speaker, a single public hospital network provider in Canberra Health Services will serve our community well as we continue to grow. The investment of more than $1 billion in the new North Canberra Hospital, for which consultation with the community will continue later this year, means that now is the right time to make this change.

I remain committed to supporting staff and patients so that this change can be made as smoothly as possible for the benefit of future health outcomes for our whole community. I would like to thank all the staff at Calvary and Clare Holland House for their hard work and the excellent care they provide every day. I will continue to work hard to ensure our health care staff have all the support they need and that people receiving health care have continuity and quality care as we develop a hospital network that serves our community well into the future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Building—embedded utilities networks—update

Ministerial statement

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (10.40): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table the review of the embedded networks in the ACT in this Assembly and provide an update in response to the motion.

The review is a requirement of a resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly on 18 October 2022 that called on the ACT government to conduct a review, with regard to assessing whether the following reforms are appropriate:  a ban on new embedded networks; further regulation of embedded network providers; and further consumer protections for embedded network users. The resolution further requested that the ACT government report back to this Assembly on this matter by 30 June this year.

Embedded networks are private utility networks that are connected to a distribution or transmission network through a parent connection point and serve multiple customers at child connection points. Common examples of embedded networks include shopping centres, retirement villages, apartment complexes and caravan parks.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of embedded networks in the ACT, with the residential apartment market being the primary driver of growth. This reflects a shift towards higher-density living, together with the evolution of a favourable business model associated with installing and operating embedded networks. Embedded networks are established during the construction of an apartment building, often with the electricity retailer negotiating low establishment charges with the developer and may cover electricity metering and hot water utilities.

Some consumers have raised the issue of anti-competitive practices from embedded network providers, as they have received notification of significant electricity price increases. Upon investigation, customers have found that it is very difficult to extract themselves from an embedded network or to even access better pricing through offers made by their own retailer. Barriers to changing retailers in an embedded network

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