Statutes Amendment (Electricity and Gas) Bill | SPEECH


Third Reading

Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 18:05 :56 ): I just have a very brief third reading speech. Let me just wind up by saying that the opposition understands and is supportive in principle of making South Australia a safer place. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. The opposition also values the work of the OTR towards that, and has no hesitation about supporting the government in that in principle.

We are very cautious about anything that might increase the cost to consumers. We are also very cautious about anything that might unfairly or unnecessarily diminish people’s existing rights. The issues that we have dealt with in the most detail have been those that did not exist before about access to land and access to vehicles, and extra authorities given to authorised officers. Those are issues that we take very seriously. I expect we will take up the minister’s offer to come back with some amendments on those areas. We will do that between the houses and see how debate proceeds in the other place.

The last thing I would like to say is that all the questions that were asked by the opposition during the committee stage were about the clauses directly relating to electricity. It is not because we did not think about the gas or that we do not value the same principles with regard to the gas. It is because the part of the bill relating to gas is very similar to that relating to electricity. Given that most of our concerns are about the principles, there was no need to go through and ask twice as many questions or the same questions all over again.

The key difference that I picked up in my reading between the electricity part of the bill and the gas part of the bill was with regard to rationing and the provision of information to the regulator and to the government at times of gas rationing. As I said in my second reading speech, I think that that is actually quite a fair principle. When you are in a difficult situation for whatever reason, and you are down to the gas rationing stage, everybody in a position of responsibility needs access to as much information as possible.

With that, I conclude my remarks. I thank the minister’s advisers, who are always friendly, available and willing to advise me. I also thank, as always, my staff member Mr Chris Hanna, who does an outstanding job supporting me in these matters.

Bill read a third time and passed.