26 September 2023
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minister for Regional Development on the topic of South Australia's energy in the regions.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: On Thursday 14 September this year, SA Power Networks announced that it had cut the power to parts of regional SA due to high risk fire conditions. As a result, approximately 2,500 properties were without power in areas between Streaky Bay and the Nullarbor for approximately three hours. In November of last year, more than 163,000 South Australians were left without power for days after severe storms. My questions to the minister are:
- Is the Minister for Regional Development concerned that so many South Australians in regional areas are without power during extreme weather events?
- Would the minister support putting electricity back into public hands so that South Australians can finally have an electricity network that can actually weather a storm?
The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:13): I thank the honourable member for his question. I am sure we all agree that we want to have ongoing electricity supplies, but at the same time safety must be first. Everyone is well aware of the issues around bushfires and the tragedies we have had, not just in recent years but over many different years, and therefore decisions that are taken are generally taken with regard to safety around that. In terms of any other specifics, I am happy to refer that to the minister in the other place.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:14): Supplementary: notwithstanding safety concerns, does the minister think it is acceptable for people living in the regions to be without power for hours and days on end?
The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:14): I don't think we can ever ignore safety concerns when it comes to things such as bushfires.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:14): Supplementary: what action has the minister taken to address the issue to ensure there is ongoing provision of power during extreme weather events in the regions?
The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:14): Our government is doing a lot of work in terms of the energy space and I am sure members are well aware of the many initiatives that we have been progressing that will have benefits across the state.
28 November 2023
In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS:
The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Energy and Mining has advised in principle, the Malinauskas Labor government is opposed to the privatisation of essential services.
The government believes that privatising the network by the then Liberal administration was a foolish decision which has resulted in suboptimal outcomes for consumers. However, restoring the electricity network to public ownership would be a complex and expensive undertaking.
Any consideration of such a change would require thorough analysis rather than superficial thinking.