Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 5 Number 1 Contents futurebuilding 107
Volume 5 Number 1
Prices and people – panel discussion
and UnitingCare, when you see that up-front, if that’s
not well supported and resourced, you do enormous
long-term social damage.
IH: Our organisation’s engagement in the sort of
context you’re talking about particularly relates to the
energy sector where we deal, through our emergency
relief and other support agencies, with energy
poverty and people unable to pay utility bills, so we
have a very healthy interest in energy pricing in some
of Australia’s states.
The real issue we see is one of information
asymmetry. Are regulators and businesses going to
engage in meaningful attempts to address the information
asymmetry that makes it very hard for consumers to trust
utilities that they don’t understand, and really struggle to
engage with, just in economic terms?
And that trust issue goes to a broader question,
which is: what does a good process in, for example,
a privatisation, look like?
BL: What does a good process look like? Let’s use
New South Wales as an example. It has a committed
policy, so what would you like to see in terms of a
process of the allocation of proceeds? What are the
IH: If people want to see greater consumer
engagement and confidence, and general public
acceptance of that sort of privatisation, the key
is trust. The difficulty is that it is not trust in us as
service delivery organisations in the social space,
and, unfortunately, it is not trust in treasury officials,
or indeed trust in the companies that might wish to
purchase the assets – all of which might be working
very hard and very sincerely to pursue the strong
case that is made around price in New South Wales.
The difficulty is trust in the executives, the decision-
makers who will define the privatisation process.
What you want in a state government executive
that is going to carry a process like that forward is a
long-term view around infrastructure, and not being
driven around deficit reduction. You want long-
term rather than short-term perspectives. You want
a high level of expertise. You want commitment and
resourcing of regulators that are fully independent
and that are showing and exercising for driving down
Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
Great state. Great opportunity.
SARA fast-tracking solutions for
Queensland Government planning reforms are assisting
business, reducing costs and cutting waiting times.
Recent dry conditions have seen an increase in urgent
requests for water bore permits to the State Assessment
and Referral Agency (SARA).
Having applications case managed by one agency has
streamlined approval processes and ensured that the
government is responsive to the needs of the applicant.
Through SARA drought affected farmers can now receive
approvals for water bores on their property within two
working days, instead of 20.
See how we are transforming Queensland
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