ACCC, big business endorse Macfarlane energy plan

Plans by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane to make the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) the main overseer of Australia's $100 billion energy market has won a ringing endorsement from ACCC boss, Professor Allan Fels and big business.

Under Mr Macfarlane's proposal, an Australian Energy Commission within the ACCC would replace the network of 13 regulators operating around the country.

"This model may have the potential to achieve the best of both worlds by marrying competition and regulatory laws and enabling a streamlining of the current processes," Professor Fels said.

Chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, Katie Lahey, said it went a long way toward addressing the BCA's own action plan for the national energy market.

"We congratulate the government for putting energy reform and development of the national energy policy firmly on the political agenda," Ms Lahey said.

The Macfarlane proposal represents a major shift from the model put forward by former resources minister Warwick Parer 10 days ago that proposed the establishment of a single statutory authority that would take over energy-specific roles of the ACCC and existing state regulators.

Other proposals put forward by Mr Macfarlane include the establishment of a market-focused company to be called the Australian National Energy Corporation to oversee national energy market development and an Australian Energy Market Management Company to run the day-to-day functions of the energy market.

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