Irrigation costs out of control
QUEENSLAND Farmers Federation president Stuart Armitage is calling on the government to take a stand on rising electricity prices within the region.
“The Queensland Competition Authority’s announcement that electricity prices for irrigated agriculture will increase by up to 5.1% is another blow to the state’s farmers dealing with spiralling electricity bills,” Mr Armitage said.
“The 5.1% increase comes on the back of the State Government’s intervention on the original QCA determination for a 10.3% rise – yet another double-digit annual increase.
“The government’s action proves that it can address electricity price increases, something it previously claimed cannot be controlled.”
Mr Armitage believes more can be done by the government.
“Electricity price increases of at least 130% in under a decade, when CPI has only increased by 21% over that period, have severely eroded farm business profitability and for some businesses is challenging viability,” he said.
“For a small irrigated farm business paying around $20,000 per annum for electricity (just for irrigation), a 5% increase still delivers a nasty price rise, with an additional $1000 per annum – and that is based on the current transitional tariffs which will be removed in 2020.
“Governments seem to have failed to recognise that reduced farm business profitability has a direct correlation to less money being spent in regional communities, so the ‘multiplier effect’ is lost from those economies.
“The unjustifiable price increases continue to directly and indirectly impact the economic prosperity of regional Queensland, resulting in lost jobs and opportunities.”