Essential Services Commission appoints first female chair

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) will have its first female chair after the appointment of Kate Symons. 

Victorian Assistant Treasurer, Robin Scott, announced Ms Symons’ appointment from Acting Chair to full-time Commissioner and Chair, joining commissioners Simon Corden and recently appointed Sitesh Bhojani.

Ms Symons will continue to lead ESC in the areas of energy, transport, local government, water and energy efficiency.

Ms Symons’ appointment commences immediately, having acted in the role since May 2019.

Ms Symons is an established lawyer with a broad range of experience with the Commonwealth Royal Commission into HIH Insurance, the Federal Court of Australia and law firms in Australia and internationally over almost two decades.

ESC is Victoria’s independent economic regulator of essential utility services, including electricity, gas, water and sewerage, ports, rail freight and taxi industries.

The Victorian Budget 2019/20 provides $27.3 million over four years to the ESC to bolster its regulation of the energy market and promote the interests of consumers.

The Energy Fairness Plan also gives the Commission clearer investigatory powers, as well as new powers to monitor and report on the Victorian retail energy market and crack down on retailers doing the wrong thing.

Ms Scott said, “The appointment of Ms Symons means the ESC is well placed to be the strong and fair regulator Victoria needs.

“Ms Symons is the first woman appointed to the role and I look forward to working with her and all the Commissioners to protect Victorian consumers.”

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said,“This appointment will ensure the ESC continues to be a strong cop on the beat when it comes to cracking down on retailers who do the wrong thing.”

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