Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

The pro­posed 10.3 per cent elec­tric­ity price hike needs to be reeled in now.

The siz­able hike has dev­as­tated cane grow­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties sense of hope for a brighter, fairer fu­ture, fol­low­ing the re­lease of the Queens­land Com­pe­ti­tion Au­thor­ity’s (QCA’s) draft de­ter­mi­na­tion, 2016-17, for re­gional reg­u­lated elec­tric­ity prices, dated March 24..

What makes the situation even more dire is that the hikes, which will im­pact on ru­ral house­hold­ers, busi­nesses and farm­ers across ru­ral Queens­land, come on the back of a se­ries of in­creases amount­ing to a 96 per cent cu­mu­la­tive in­crease over the last seven years. Among the worst hit will be Queens­land’s ir­ri­gated farm­ers.

The spi­ralling cost of elec­tric­ity to run pumps to ir­ri­gate farm land is be­com­ing eco­nom­i­cally un­bear­able and many grow­ers are be­ing forced to make the de­ci­sion to switch the pumps off and loose vi­tal pro­duc­tiv­ity and profitabil­ity. It’s un­ac­cept­able, es­pe­cially given it doesn’t have to be this way.

I find it in­ter­est­ing to see that the QCA is rec­om­mend­ing in­creases when we are hear­ing in the press that spe­cial­ists in the elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion area are ad­vo­cat­ing that the gov­ern­ment should im­me­di­ately di­rect Pow­er­link, En­ergex and Er­gon En­ergy to cut rev­enues from 40-50 per cent, giv­ing price relief of about 35 per cent to most con­sumers.

The long-term so­lu­tion is to fix the reg­u­la­tory rules to en­sure it de­liv­ers fair re­turns rather than ex­ces­sive re­turns to the net­works and the state gov­ern­ment that owns them.

So much for sup­port­ing Agri­cul­ture as one of the four pil­lars of our econ­omy and the great fu­ture for our state. The state gov­ern­ment ap­pears even more fo­cused on milk­ing the elec­tric­ity cash cow, that it can­not see how growth will come from bet­ter power prices sup­port­ing ex­pand­ing agri­cul­ture. This short­sight­ed­ness will turn a pil­lar into a stump very quickly.

Kerry Lat­ter, CEO, Cane­grow­ers

ele­phant painting, you know who you are.

I hope you choke on the beer you are drink­ing from my beer glasses while you gaze at my beau­ti­ful pic­ture.

The mat­ter is in police hands.

Robyn Seck­olds, Port Dou­glas

Queens­land has a melanoma in­ci­dence rate of 71 cases per 100,000 peo­ple (for the years 2009-2013), vastly ex­ceed­ing rates in all other ju­ris­dic­tions na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Our cli­mate and de­mo­graph­ics make us uniquely vul­ner­a­ble to skin cancer, ne­ces­si­tat­ing on­go­ing vig­i­lance in sun pro­tec­tion.

In fact, melanoma in­ci­dence is ex­pected to rise steeply among older peo­ple for some time yet, due to dam­age done ear­lier in life, be­fore our Slip, Slop, Slap cam­paign be­gan.

We are, how­ever, see­ing on­go­ing de­creases in younger age groups – with rates of melanoma sta­bil­is­ing or de­clin­ing among younger gen­er­a­tions. There can be no doubt that this is due to the suc­cess of longterm preven­tion and early de­tec­tion cam­paigns, such as Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

End­ing Queens­land’s tragic record as the skin cancer cap­i­tal of the world re­mains a top pri­or­ity for Cancer Coun­cil Queens­land.

It’s im­per­a­tive that when­ever the UV Index level is three or above, Queens­lan­ders fol­low the five rec­om­mended sun pro­tec­tive be­hav­iours.

Queens­lan­ders should Slip on pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, Slop on min­i­mum SPF30 broad-spec­trum, wa­ter­re­sis­tant sun­screen, Slap on a broad­brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sun­nies when out­doors to best re­duce their risk of skin cancer.

Queens­lan­ders can find more in­for­ma­tion about be­ing SunS­mart, in­clud­ing the lat­est cancer sta­tis­tics in Queens­land at can­

Pro­fes­sor Jeff Dunn AO, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Cancer Coun­cil Queens­land

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