Exorbitant power bills part of triple hit on Gympie wallets
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett says a dearth of competing energy providers means Gympie region residents will not reap the rewards seen in Brisbane of lower power bills.
"No one feels that prices have dropped,” Mr Perrett said of a State Government proclamation that power bills were on the way down in Brisbane.
"In fact I don't think there is a person in Gympie who believes their electricity prices have fallen,” he said.
"Claims that any price drop has been because of increased competition between energy retailers is cold comfort for Gympie residents because there is no competition here.
"Everyone has the right to find cheaper power and that is why the LNP supports more competition and for retail companies to extend to all regional areas, not just south east Queenslanders.
"We have to remember these are capital city statistics, for only three months.
"It is laughable that the Government thinks these statistics justify continuing its botched policies because for the past three years it has been deliberately pocketing dividends from the generators to prop up its budgets.
"It has loaded up government owned electricity companies with $5 billion of debt, as well as ripped the generators of their profits and pushed them to 'game the market' with bidding practices that push up the price for consumers.
"Add to that subsides for renewables, and a gold plated system, has meant crippling power prices for retirees, pensioners, families and businesses.
"Compounding the broken system is Labor's creation of mega electricity corporations where unaccountable executives are paid bonuses despite rising prices, an obsession with green ideology at the expense of common sense or prudent use of taxpayers money, and previous Labor governments locking in 43% increases with the network determination from 2010 to 2015.
"Our electricity system which has been in the hands of Labor Governments for the past 17 years out of 21.
"The whole effect is that while Gympie locals pay 20% more for electricity, and our businesses pay 30% more, our low socio-economic profile means that we have to pay these charges while on some of the lowest average weekly earnings in the state.
"Electricity is a significant fixed cost to business making it lose any competitive advantage we should have.
"It has become a business inhibitor where it being almost cheaper for farmers to use diesel to power their pumps as opposed to the convenience of electricity.
"This essential commodity is becoming almost unaffordable for so many people and making it even harder for local businesses to continue to afford staff in a region where our 8.4% unemployment rate is 2.3% above the state average,” he said.