Submission: Review of Limited Merits Review for Energy Pricing Determinations

Consumer Action has provided a submission to the Standing Council on Energy & Resources on the Final Report of the Expert Panel set up to examine the Limited Merits Review Regime for energy determinations.

While we strongly support government undertaking rigorous RIS analyses before enacting new laws and regulations, given the extent of analysis and consultation undertaken by the Expert Panel, we question whether a high level RIS is useful or necessary at this time. We note that the recent Independent Review of the Australian Government’s Regulatory Impact Analysis Process recommended:

A RIS should not be required for a regulatory proposal in cases where a fulsome consultation and analysis has already been undertaken through another mechanism, such as the release of a ‘green’ and ‘white’ paper or an official review (where the terms of reference prescribe an equivalent analysis to that which would be undertaken in a RIS).[i]

This independent review stated that this recommendation aims to reduce duplication and inefficiency. We support this recommendation, and would note that, subject to one issue identified below, significant consultation and analysis was undertaken in the development of the Final Report. In addition, our experience is that RIS processes can be time intensive, and there may be a risk that the existing merits review regime will continue to apply to future energy regulatory determinations while the policy is being finalised. Given the significant proven consumer detriment of the existing regime, we would encourage SCER to consider fast tracking policy decisions, rather than undertaking a lengthy RIS process.

To read our submission, click here: Review of Limited Merits Review for Energy Pricing Determinations.

[i] David Borthwick AO PSM and Robert Milliner, Independent Review of the Australian Government’s Regulatory Impact Analysis Process, 20 April 2012, recommendation 4, page 73.

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