Kurri Kurri Smelter Upgrade

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SpeakersLynn The Hon Charlie; Egan The Hon Michael
BusinessQuestions Without Notice


The Hon. C. J. S. LYNN: My question would normally be directed to the Minister for Juvenile Justice, representing the Minister for Energy, and Minister for Western Sydney. However, on this occasion I want to give the Treasurer an opportunity
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to answer. In today’s edition of Regional Business, which is the newsletter of the Greater Western Sydney Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., an article states:
      Parramatta-based Capral Aluminium has stepped up its campaign for an electricity price cut by suggesting a $259 million plan to upgrade its Kurri Kurri smelter rested on whether it achieved a suitable price cut from NSW Government-owned power companies.

What action will the Minister take to ensure that the upgrade to the Kurri Kurri smelter is not jeopardised?

The Hon. M. R. EGAN: I am sure the Hon. C. J. S. Lynn would be aware that New South Wales has a competitive electricity market. Our power users, particularly large business users, purchase their power from any one of a number of competing generators within this State or from interstate. The price at which generators make power available to prospective users is a commercial decision.

Capral Aluminium is a significant firm in New South Wales. I was interested to learn - although I did not first learn it from the Hon. C. J. S. Lynn; I have known for some time - that Capral is hoping to increase the capacity of its activities in New South Wales. That will depend on whether Capral can come to a commercial arrangement to buy power at a price that is not only commercial for generators but also commercial for Capral. I am sure that the honourable member would not suggest that New South Wales should provide an industry of that size with a taxpayer subsidy.