The Big Stick is back

meter reading, big stick
Image: Energy Minister Angus Taylor, Bidgee

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has revealed the Big Stick laws, which have been labelled as Draconian by big energy companies, will be a priority when the government returns to Parliament in July.

In an interview with The Australian, Mr Taylor revealed energy companies will be forced to cut wholesale prices and guarantee supply. State Governments will also be under increased pressure to fast-track approvals for new generation projects under the Federal Government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments program.

Many energy companies were perhaps hopeful the government would abandon the Big Stick policy after it was unsuccessful in Parliament, but Mr Taylor has assured that they will be coming back strong.

Related article: Scott Morrison’s Big Stick goes limp in Parliament

“I can tell you it is a parliamentary priority — it should be no ­surprise,” Mr Taylor told The Australian.

“It is our policy, we took it to the election, it has been through the partyroom, and it has been introduced to parliament.

“This is a broad-ranging piece of legislation … the divestment powers are at the pointy end … but it is also about prohibitive actions, manipulation of wholesale markets, price gouging in the retail markets and derivatives market.”

The Big Stick policy was controversial when introduced late last year as it gave the Treasurer divestment powers against companies that did not comply.

Mr Taylor says they’ll be revived now the government has a majority in the lower house and optimistically a less hostile senate.

Related article: Report: Consumers get short end of Big Stick