MEDIA RELEASE: EPO released - Electricity prices, future of work key to living standards

Embracing electricity industry reform could achieve real reductions in electricity prices in the future, according to CEDA’s Economic and Political Overview publication released Friday 15 February, 2013.

Embracing electricity industry reform could achieve real reductions in electricity prices in the future, according to CEDA's Economic and Political Overview publication released today.

In releasing the publication, CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon Stephen Martin said the publication provides analysis and discussion on key political and economic factors that will have a significant impact on Australia in 2013.

In addition to the economic and political analysis for the year ahead, this year the publication also looks at forecasts for electricity prices to 2020 and the future of work.

"In a Federal election year the major political parties should be outlining their long term vision for Australians, not just for the next election cycle," he said.

"We've chosen these two issues because they are fundamental to maintaining the living standards for all Australians and highlight exactly the type of issues that should be on the table for discussion this year.

"Electricity prices have a major impact on industry, business and households. This report identifies that real reductions were achieved between 1985 and 2008 because of substantial supply-side reforms to the electricity industry.

"However, the rise of electricity prices between 2008 and 2012 has coincided with a period where reform has stalled.

"Deregulation of electricity prices such as in Victoria and South Australia and interval metering will be key to driving competition and innovation which in turn has the potential to drive real reductions in prices."

On the future of work, Professor Martin said fundamentally what most working Australians want is job security and knowing they will have work options in the future.

"It is hard to imagine work without email, the internet or even mobile phones but the changes in technology that have occurred over the last two decades are likely to continue for coming decades," he said.

"While the structure of work - largely centralised locations and nine to five - may have worked for more than 150 years, the rapid changes in technology provide the perfect time to take a greenfield approach to how we structure work for generations of Australians to come."

Professor Martin said the economic chapter examines what is likely to happen in the US, Europe, China and other Asian economies and the impact on Australia in the year ahead.

"Overall this chapter predicts a more resilient world economy in 2013 and importantly for Australia an upturn in Chinese GDP growth after a three year low in 2012," he said.

"For Australia the key to maintaining low unemployment will be re-igniting non mining sectors of the economy including retail, manufacturing and construction in the face of a still strong currency.

"With GDP forecasts for real growth slightly below trend for 2013, the chapter also predicts further interest rate reductions will be needed."

Professor Martin said the political chapter examines what issues will be key for each of the major parties and the likely outcome of the election, including in the Senate, and for the independents and Greens.

The contributing authors to this year's EPO publication are: 

  • Warren Hogan, Chief Economist, ANZ
  • Professor Peter van Onselen, Contributing Editor, The Australian, Winthrop Professor of Journalism, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Chancellor, RMIT, Chairman, Suncorp
  • Professor Paul Simshauser, Chief Economist, AGL and
  • Tim Nelson, Head of Economics, Policy and Sustainability, AGL

The EPO is being launched in Sydney and Perth today.

To see details of all EPO events click here.