The Federal Government says it “is happy” to lock in a legal requirement that power companies pass on savings arising from the abolition of the carbon tax.
The move, which would satisfy the only condition laid down by the Palmer United Party for its crucial support to the repeal bill, follows talks between PUP leader Clive Palmer and Prime Minister Tony Abbott this morning.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has told Parliament it will add to the Government’s efforts to monitor power pricing through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“The ACCC will be on the job but we are happy to take the considerations of members of this House and to go even further and to enshrine in legislation guarantees over and above what we already have, so prices will be lower than they would otherwise have been,” he said.
Late yesterday Mr Palmer revealed his party’s position that it would vote with the Coalition in the Senate to repeal the carbon pricing scheme, but only if lower power prices were locked in.
“I think we can work a solution out on carbon tax, we can ensure that electricity prices will come down for Australians. I think that’s a positive thing,” Mr Palmer said shortly after this morning’s meeting with Mr Abbott.
“I think that’s an important aspect of it. What’s the point of reducing it if we don’t get the benefit for Australians?”
Mr Abbott told Parliament in Question Time that he is “delighted” that PUP senators will vote to abolish the carbon tax and is receptive to Mr Palmer’s suggestions.
“I look forward to working with him to ensure all the savings from the abolition of the carbon tax are passed on,” he said.