Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Regional Energy Infrastructure

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:13): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minister for Regional Development on the topic of regional energy infrastructure and resourcing.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: As a result of the storms that swept across South Australia over the weekend, a number of regional communities are still without power, I understand, in the Riverland, Yorke Peninsula, Fleurieu Peninsula and the Mid North. On 28 October this year, the Secretary of SA Unions, Mr Dale Beasley, wrote an open letter to the Premier, Mr Peter Malinauskas, that called for the reversal of privatisation of electricity, stating:

Clearly it is not in the best interests of South Australians that the natural monopoly of public electricity supply is run by private corporations to create huge profits. This model has seen under-investment in maintenance and replacement of electricity distribution infrastructure.

My question to the minister therefore is:

1. Does the minister believe that there has been sufficient investment in energy infrastructure and resourcing in the regions?

2. Would the minister support reviving ETSA to ensure that our electricity network meets the needs of our communities, particularly those living in regional South Australia?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:14): I thank the honourable member for his question. Of course, electricity services in regional areas are incredibly important and, in the general sense, are part of the need for regional development. However, in terms of the specifics, I will refer the question to my colleague in the other place the Minister for Energy and Mining.