POWER DEBATE: Qld leaders go head to head over soaring electricity costs

12th August 2017 12:40 PM
Eectricity pylons and power lines at sun set sun rise in Woolooga
Photo Craig Warhurst/The Gympie Times Eectricity pylons and power lines at sun set sun rise in Woolooga Photo Craig Warhurst/The Gympie Times Craig Warhurst

The electricity crisis, cost and supply, is shaping to be a key issue in the next election but who has the answers? See what you think as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition leader Tim Nichols debate the problem.

From Tim Nicholls, LNP Queensland Opposition Leader:

AS reflected in major recent surveys, Queenslanders have clearly tuned in to the fact that they cannot afford Labor's ideological energy policies.

Electricity prices have never been higher - that's Labor's record.

Labor's 70 per cent increase in the wholesale price of power is hurting families, pensioners, businesses and job creation across the state.

POWER STRUGGLE: QLD Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls talks about farmers with high electricity costs in Bundaberg.
Tim Nicholls. Paul Donaldson BUN100717LNP2

Loading up the government-owned electricity generators and companies with Labor's debt has meant it is passed to consumers through soaring power bills.

Queenslanders know Labor's headlong rush to a 50 per cent renewable energy target will just drive up prices even more, not to mention the risk that we will do a South Australia and battle to keep the lights on.

Renewables have a place in the energy mix but they are not the be-all and end-all as Labor would want us to believe.

While Labor's policies are driving up power bills, the LNP will put downward pressure on electricity prices by:

  • Reducing wasteful expenditure on the network - last time we removed $7 billion of wasteful expenditure.
  • Opposing Labor's secret plans for a state-based carbon tax.
  • Scrapping Labor's 50 per cent renewable energy policy that will drive up prices.
  • Supporting a new coal-fired power station in North Queensland built by the private sector - to boost supply, reliability and increase competition.
  • Opposing Labor's vegetation management policies that the networks have said will increase costs.
  • Stopping the price gouging - it was the LNP that referred the energy generators to the competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), after wholesale electricity prices hit record highs.

From Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland:

MY government is putting maximum downward pressure on electricity prices by keeping our electricity generation, transmission and distribution businesses

in public ownership and by investing $1.16 billion in the Powering Queensland Plan.

This downward pressure on electricity prices has limited electricity price increases to an average

of just 1.9% per year compared to 43% over the term of the LNP Newman-Nicholls government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad joined Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow to officially launch the CBD Redevelopment Framework this morning.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad joined Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow to officially launch the CBD Redevelopment Framework this morning. Allan Reinikka ROK300117awilliam

The 43% increase in electricity prices under the LNP meant a $436 increase for the average household. If we had seen another 43% increase on the 2014-15 household electricity bills, prices would be more than $600 higher this financial year.

My government's Powering Queensland Plan includes:

  • Providing electricity price relief by investing $770million to cover the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme
  • Returning Swanbank E gas-fired power station to service after it was mothballed by the LNP Government
  • Directing Stanwell Corporation to undertake strategies to place downward pressure on wholesale prices
  • Investigating the restructure of government- owned generators and the establishment of a "CleanCo”
  • Delivering a $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan to strengthen and diversify the north's energy supply and create a North Queensland clean energy hub
  • Confirming the government's commitment to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030
  • Facilitating the next wave of up to 400 megawatts of diversified renewable energy, including 100 megawatts of energy storage through a reverse auction
  • Improving large-scale renewable project facilitation, planning and network connections
  • Establishing the Queensland Energy Security Taskforce
  • Implementing the Queensland Gas Action
  • Plan and release over 450sqkm of new gas tenure for supply to the Australian market
  • Continuing to advocate for stable, integrated national climate and energy policies.

I also encourage Queenslanders to check their eligibility to a range of concessions and rebates, including the increased $340.85 annual electricity bill rebate.

The electricity rebate available for holders of the Queensland Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and Department of Veterans Affairs (Gold Card) has been extended to low-income households and any Health Care Card holders.

To check your eligibility for Queensland Government concessions and rebates visit www.qld.gov.au/ smartsavings to access Smart Savings or contact the Queensland Government call centre on 13 74 68.

The LNP has no plan. In terms of a coal-fired power station, even Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned "these new HELE plants would produce energy at an estimated two and a half times the costs of our existing coal-fired power stations. They would also take up to around seven years to set up.”