Pitt and Bennett call on Labor to end price gouging

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and State Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett are calling on the Queensland Labor Government to follow Indonesia’s lead and cut power prices for farmers and businesses.

 Mr Pitt, a former electrical engineer, said Ergon and Energex had released their yearly profits, showing $3.5 billion in dividends going straight to the State Government.

 “The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has moved to restrict Ergon Energy’s proposed revenue by 27 per cent over the next five years to save customers money,” he said.

 “Instead of reducing energy prices across the board, the State Labor Government is challenging the AER’s determination and is using Queenslanders as their personal cash cows.

 “Farmers, businesses and households are hurting; they need cost-of-living relief now.”

 Mr Bennett said State Labor had transferred its debt to the Government Owned Corporations, rather than prudently managing its own budget.

 “I acknowledge that some of the profits go towards ensuring those in the bush pay the same price as those in the city through a Uniform Tariff Policy, but that’s not the problem here.

 “The fact is Labor is using $3.5 billion to pay down its own debt. Queenslanders are paying for their financial incompetence,” Mr Bennett said.  

 Mr Bennett said a 93 per cent increase in electricity prices for irrigators in six years, as reported in today’s NewsMail, was completely unacceptable.

 “If things continue the way they are, before too long Australians will be buying all their food from overseas,” he said.

 Mr Pitt said the Indonesian Government had announced it will cut energy prices for companies by reducing their revenue, to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

 “There is absolutely no reason the State Labor Government can’t do the same here,” he said.

 “Reports of $500,000 electricity bills are shocking and unsustainable. Our region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Farmers and businesses only create jobs when they have confidence for the future.”

 Mr Bennett encouraged anyone concerned about electricity prices, or any other State issues, to go along to Labor’s Community Cabinet meeting in Bundaberg on October 18 and 19 and make their views known.