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Sunday 22

July, 201810:53 AM



PM dodges calls for power price inquiry

PM dodges calls for power price inquiry

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has played down calls for an inquiry into energy prices from the Greens, Labor and within his own partyroom.

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By AAP 09.07.2018 11:26 AM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has batted away calls from colleagues and opponents for a national inquiry into high power prices and profiteering.

Instead, Mr Turnbull said an "illuminating" Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on the electricity sector will be released this week.

"We've turned the corner on electricity prices," Mr Turnbull told reporters at Avebury Mine, in the north-west Tasmanian seat of Braddon on Monday.

"You've seen price reductions across the east coast as a result of the policies of my government."

Mr Turnbull pointed to measures to push down gas prices by moving to restrict exports and its own National Energy Guarantee as proof of action.

"The NEG will provide a level playing-field, technology agnostic, certain environment for people to invest and deliver lower cost for generation over time," he said.

Coalition and Green MPs are pressuring the federal government to act on power prices to counter skyrocketing energy bills for households and businesses.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt says re-regulating electricity prices and generating more power from renewable energy will help tackle the issue.

The Greens will seek to introduce a bill setting up a commission of inquiry into power prices when parliament returns.

"It's time to get to the bottom of why power prices are going up, which is (because) we're taking an essential service and treating it like a stock market," Mr Bandt told Sky News on Monday.

Coalition MPs, including former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, have urged Mr Turnbull to threaten power companies with a royal commission unless they cut prices.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly said the public needed to know MPs were doing everything they could to get prices down.

"Because the current price of electricity in this nation is completely unacceptable," Mr Kelly told reporters in Canberra.

But crossbench senators Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch don't believe the issue warrants a royal commission.

One Nation leader Senator Hanson would prefer to see an inquiry into family law courts, while Senator Hinch believes the consumer watchdog is best-placed to deal with power prices.

Mr Bandt said the Greens would negotiate with Labor and coalition backbenchers to vote for a commission of inquiry in parliament.

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