QFF campaign to reduce the burden of electricity prices
THERE is no doubt electricity prices will be a major factor in the outcome of the Queensland state election this month.
The jury however is still out on how various parties will positively address this integral issue for regional and rural Queensland.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage said despite assurances from politicians over several years of ‘downward pressure on electricity prices’, there has been no reprieve and the time for ‘downward pressure’ was over – immediate price relief was needed now.
“The ongoing ‘energy crisis’ continues to have viability and profitability ramifications for Queensland farmers, who over the past decade had experienced electricity price increases of at least 130 per cent. For some, the cost of this basic need and critical farm input has risen by 300 per cent. Over the same period, CPI has increased by just 21 per cent,” he said.
“Farmers are fed up with the lack of action and are looking for those candidates and political parties willing to do what it takes to reform the current broken electricity system.
“Modern, intensive farming businesses rely on a range of energy-intensive activities for irrigation, heating, cool rooms and packaging sheds to produce high quality food, fibre and foliage.
Reliable, affordable electricity is a must for farmers to keep the doors open so they can continue to employ people and support Queensland communities.
“Government programs addressing energy efficiency and demand management have been an important resource for helping Queensland farmers to identify, learn and implement energy efficiency practices and changes to their businesses.
“These programs must continue and must evolve to factor in linked activities, address broader productivity issues and provide implementation incentives. But they must also be ramped up so more farmers can benefit, and they have only dampened the unsustainable price increases imposed on farmers,” Mr Armitage said.
This election QFF is advocating for the following practical actions to realise its vision for a vibrant and thriving agricultural sector providing food, fibre and amenity to all Queenslanders:
■ Direct Energy Queensland to optimise network assets and set network prices at efficient levels, at least 40 per cent below existing levels. ■ Remove the hidden taxes on the government owned corporations, such as competitive neutrality payments.
■ Remove the solar bonus from a network charge.
■ Deliver a comprehensive reform of existing electricity network tariffs that are appropriate and affordable for farmers.
■ Commit $36 million over three years to an integrated industry-led energy program that addresses the energy-water-productivity nexus.