The Nationals in government will end the existing gas monopoly situation in Horsham and Stawell, helping to ease cost of living pressures for local families.
Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Emma Kealy made the announcement today, saying the commitment would allow competition into the gas market, driving down gas prices for local households and businesses.
Ms Kealy has been calling for the monopoly situation to be addressed since 2016, writing numerous letters to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and raising the issue in Parliament on several occasions asking Labor to explain what action they were taking to break the gas supply monopoly in the Wimmera.
Ms Kealy also reported the issue to the Australian Competition Consumer Commission in 2018, requesting that the ACCC investigate any evidence of price gouging in the Wimmera by the sole gas retailer, Energy Australia, and the marketing practices of other gas supply companies that might represent false and misleading advertising.
“We know that Wimmera residents pay some of the highest gas prices in Victoria, and it is obvious from Labor’s total inaction on this issue that Daniel Andrews has no interest in fixing the gas supply monopoly situation,” Ms Kealy said.
“All we hear from the minister is hot air about gas, but the fact is Labor has done absolutely nothing to address this situation despite their commitment in 2014 to monitor the development of competition in the Wimmera to ensure the interests of consumers are protected.
“I am constantly contacted by local residents who have received astronomical gas accounts from the only provider in the area, Energy Australia.
“The gas supply and associated gas retail monopoly means local people can’t access standard discounts that people in Melbourne can access, including pay-on-time discounts and getting an electronic bill rather than a paper bill.
“Our gas bills are soaring, and Labor isn’t prepared to acknowledge there is an issue let alone take action to break the gas supply and retail monopoly to the region.
“The Nationals in government will move immediately to end this unacceptable situation and in doing so, reduce cost-of-living pressures on Wimmera residents.”