Report 'highlights lack of action on energy reforms'

THE body in charge of keeping all Australian governments accountable believes reform of the nation's energy market is still "at risk" a year on from a report calling for the same changes.

The Council of Australian Government's Reform Council keeps tabs on all intergovernmental agreements, and what progress has been made by each state, territory and the Commonwealth.

It releases its 2012 report on reform agenda progress today.

Outgoing head of the reform council, Paul McClintock, said the report highlighted a lack of action on reforms to the energy market and recommended new measures be completed.

"It's difficult to get a comprehensive national reform programs agreed to, and many of the reforms Australia needs have already been done.

"The ones that are left, like the energy market, will be harder and tougher to complete."

But he described the energy market as the toughest regulatory reform the country faced, and despite concerns over partisan politics invading the current energy debate, he said he believed it was not an issue.

Mr McClintock said despite routine attacks on the Commonwealth from conservative state premiers, partisan politics was not the issue; but the different needs and situations in each state and territory were more likely to be the cause of delays in reforms.

The report again recommends action be taken, and that energy market reform again be top of the COAG agenda for next year.

Mr McClintock also said the controversial roll-out of smart meters in Victoria had tainted various government's motivation to roll out the devises, despite evidence showing the meters were an important tool in curbing energy demand.

The council's report comes two days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard released plans to slash the prices consumers pay for electricity by up to $250 a year.

Those plans, while light on the detail, were put on the agenda for this Friday's final COAG meeting in the hope reforms could be imminent.


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