In a major rebuke of the Liberal Party, the so-called party of ‘free enterprise’, Australia’s business community and industry have composed a joint statement to lobby the Liberal Government to reconsider their unprecedented and dangerous legislation proposing divestment in the energy sector.
This is the last chance for economic conservatives in the Liberal Party room to do something useful after five years and shoot down dangerous economic policy that experts say will stifle investment and increase power prices.
The Australian Energy Council, Australian Industry Group, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, Business Council of Australia, Energy Networks Australia and the Energy Users Association of Australia have banded together to strongly oppose this move of sovereign risk, predicting the impact of the proposed legislation “will impede the broader investment environment in Australia and specifically discourage badly needed investment in the energy sector.”
“If enacted, these powers would cast a pall over investment in all sectors of the Australian economy and threaten the economic attractiveness of a country highly reliant on foreign investment.”
The Coalition Government’s dangerous thought bubble for interventionist powers was not a recommendation from the competition regulator. ACCC Chair Rod Sims didn’t request these powers and at recent Senate Estimates revealed he first learned of the legislation in the newspapers.
There is risk that the political pressure rises in the future so much that the very existence of the powers becomes an albatross around the neck of Government – that is, the pressure to break-up companies becomes overwhelming regardless of the facts.
It’s time for those in the Coalition Government who care about economic stability and energy prices to come forward and back their commitment to free enterprise and a strong economy. Or turn the lights off on their way out.