Electricity Infastructure Investment Bill

(Debate, 17 November 2020, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

By leave: I move my amendments Nos 1 and 2 on sheet c2020-282A:

No. 1: Fees for access schemes

Page 9, clause 19(2), line 35. Omit "may include a component, not exceeding the amount prescribed by the regulations,". Insert instead "must include a component".

No. 2: Fees for access schemes

Page 9, clause 19. Insert after line 37— (2A)The component must not be less than the minimum amount or proportion prescribed by the regulations and must not exceed the maximum amount or proportion prescribed by the regulations.

My amendments aim to guarantee that communities in renewable energy zones will receive benefits for their contribution to powering the State. The bill currently requires energy generators to pay an access fee determined by the consumer trustee to connect to renewable energy zones with provisions for the fee to include a community purpose component for reinvestment into the local region. The component could fund projects like improved internet access or new sporting facilities. However, these community purpose components are not required by the bill, and my amendments would mandate them.

Furthermore, my amendments would allow the maximum and minimum amount or proportion of the component to be set by the regulations, as opposed to the consumer trustee, whose role it is to maximise value for electricity consumers, not ensure local community benefits. This will ensure that the amount allocated is sufficient to deliver value to communities. Throughout the inquiry into the sustainability of the energy supply and resources in New South Wales we heard from multiple stakeholders, witnesses and submitters about the importance of bringing communities along, supporting them and providing opportunities for them to lead in the transition to renewables. It is crucial that communities in renewable energy zones are guaranteed benefits for hosting renewable energy infrastructure and my amendments will do this. I commend my amendments to the House.