Pressure on Labor to stand up for Queenslanders
The State Opposition has called on the Labor Government to argue the case for lower power prices for Queensland families following the preliminary Australian Energy Regulator (AER) determination. Shadow Minister for Energy and Water Supply Andrew Powell said as predicted, the decision handed down by the AER signalled the end of massive power hikes in Queensland but Labor could still do more. “Thanks to the actions of the LNP Government, Queenslanders can now breathe a sigh of relief - but there’s still more Labor can do,” Mr Powell said. “If Labor is serious about providing cost of living relief for Queenslanders, they will ensure that savings from today’s decision get passed onto consumers.
“However, based on the actions of previous Labor governments I hold very little hope of this happening.”
Mr Powell said his biggest concern was the Palaszczuk Government was completely relying on the profitability of these businesses to live up to its promise to pay down debt.
“Labor’s half-baked debt reduction plan is to gouge Ergon and Energex for profits, which means they don’t want lower prices,” he said.
“The centrepiece of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s election campaign was to use profits from energy businesses to pay down debt, and today’s decision will mean the money isn’t there.
“This throws into question, how they will manage to pay down debt without hurting Queenslanders.”
Mr Powell said Labor had form when it came to forcing Queensland families and businesses to pay for their financial mismanagement.
“When the previous Labor Government was struggling to balance the budget, former Treasurer Andrew Fraser actually wrote a letter arguing the case for higher returns for these businesses,” he said.
“The challenge for Labor is to outline its plan to reduce power prices even further.
“Every move they’ve made so far has the potential to drive up costs for Queenslanders.
“Their plan to merge the electricity generators has been criticised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as having the potential to ‘push up electricity prices’.
“They also put a stop to the deregulation of electricity pricing in south-east Queensland at the last minute, despite the huge benefits this has provided families in other states.”