Political reporting legend Peter Kennedy addressed the CCI Energy and Resources Forum on March 9 – two days out from Labor’s crushing victory.
With Members living and breathing key election issues – including Western Power privatisation, iron ore production levy increase and reports of a state renewable energy target – the forum gave Members a chance to grill Kennedy on items that would shape the election.
As it happened, WA Labor’s anti-privatisation agenda proved decisive and Pilbara residents rejected the Nationals’ policy to increase a 25 cent iron ore levy in state agreements to $5 by ousting their local member Brendon Grylls.
Based on his decades long coverage of WA elections, Kennedy lamented the lack of scrutiny over both party’s costings in the lead up to the poll and was concerned not enough opportunity was given to the public to understand the financial consequences of respective policies.
With this year shaping up to be a big year in energy and resources, the forum – the first for the year – identified a number of critical issues for the group to advocate on that will affect all businesses involved in these sectors.
Issues including local content and improving engagement across the supply chain, how to facilitate efficient and effective regulation that can capture the next wave of WA projects and energy security were addressed.
With a gas shortage on the east coast and South Australia recently announcing that it will build, own, and operate a gas-fired power plant to provide stability and power needs, the latter is particularly a hot topic.
While WA isn’t experiencing the same problems, it will be critical to address a number of reforms including transitioning to a constrained network access model, tariff reform and introducing competition into the market through facility bidding and full retail contestability.
The forum also addressed questions on how to introduce more renewable generation into the grid smoothly to avoid problems occurring in the east.