Vic state-owned energy rebirth takes shape

Victoria is taking the first formal steps to revive state-owned electricity, appointing an interim chief executive and creating an expert advisory panel.

The Andrews Labor government promised to bring back the State Electricity Commission if it secured a third term in office last month, and has begun putting its plan into motion.

Chris Miller, former deputy secretary of tourism and events at the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and ex-senior executive at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, has been named the commission’s interim chief executive.

He will work with a panel comprised of experts in energy, investment risk management, industry development, engineering and consumer advocacy to set up the body.

The panel will be chaired by the secretary of the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, John Bradley.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas will hold shares in the SEC on behalf of Victorians.

Victoria’s state-owned electricity assets were privatised in the 1990s, but Labor intends to make an initial investment of $1 billion towards renewable energy projects overseen by the SEC.

They will be majority-owned by the state, with superannuation funds identified as preferred investors for the minority shares.

The government will try to enshrine the SEC in the state constitution next year through an amendment that requires a special majority, meaning 60 per cent of MPs in both houses are needed to pass the legislation.

“We’ve got a mandate. It’s a very, very clear mandate,” Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio told reporters on Thursday.

“Our aim is to … roll out that election commitment in full.”

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