Legislative Council: Thursday, October 19, 2023


Energy and Water Billing Complaints

The Hon. S.L. GAME (15:22): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, representing the Minister for Energy, regarding energy and water billing complaints.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: InDaily recently reported that complaints to South Australia's independent Ombudsman regarding energy and water bills increased 26 per cent in the last financial year. This has been largely due to rising electricity prices and cost-of-living pressures. The South Australian Energy and Water Ombudsman received 3,939 complaints about electricity, gas and water billing in the 2022-23 financial year, according to the recently published Ombudsman's annual report.

My question to the minister is: when can South Australians expect the Malinauskas government to act and address its failed energy policy, and how many businesses and households have had their supply disconnected during the term of this government?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:24): I thank the honourable member for her question. I might just reflect that it does have some similarities and therefore my answer will have some similarities to a question that was asked earlier during this period of question time. Of course, we are still suffering the consequences of a previous Labor—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —Liberal government when they privatised ETSA well back in the 1990s. What we know is that those opposite continue to have no idea when it comes to dealing with electricity prices. We know that those opposite had some absolute dearth of appropriate policies when they were most recently in government over the previous four years and, of course, the federal Coalition government over the previous years also were pretty much a policy-free zone. We know those opposite don't support renewables. We know that they don't see a future in renewables and that they continue to deny the realities that we are facing in this state.