The ‘sudden revelation’ from the ACCC and the Federal Government that there is a severe electricity affordability problem and the price increases over the last 10 years are putting Australian businesses and consumers under unacceptable pressure, validates what the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has been pointing out for years.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said the ongoing ‘energy crisis’ was nothing new for Queensland farmers, who over the past decade had experienced electricity price increases of at least 130%. For some, the cost of this basic need and critical farm input has risen by 300%. Over the same period, CPI has increased by just 21%.
“The viability of farming and other regional businesses continues to be challenged, almost solely due to the rising cost of electricity,” said Mr. Armitage.
“For our sector, it has been a long road getting governments to take this issue seriously and to start committing to genuine action to deal with it.”
With the ‘energy crisis’ issue now well and truly in the mainstream political climate, the eyes of all politicians should be open to the very real implications this issue will have at ballot boxes throughout the country, with Queensland being the first state to the polls.
“The issue certainly has everyone’s focused attention now, but unfortunately, governments still appear to be playing catch up with what is needed.
“We have had assurances from politicians over several years for ‘downward pressure’ on electricity prices, with no reprieve. The time for ‘downward pressure’ has well and truly passed. Farmers need price relief,” said Mr. Armitage.
This state election, QFF urges all political parties to commit to actions that drive down electricity prices in the interest of farmers, regional businesses, regional communities and the state’s economy by:
- Directing Energy Queensland to optimise network assets and set network prices at efficient levels, at least 40% below existing levels.
- Removing the hidden taxes on the Government Owned Corporations, such as competitive neutrality payments.
- Removing the solar bonus from a network charge.
- A comprehensive reform of existing electricity network tariffs that are appropriate and affordable for primary producers.