The en­ergy prob­lem

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

MORE than 26,000 peo­ple in the fed­eral seat of Le­ich­hardt are in line for a spe­cial one-off hand­out from the gov­ern­ment to help with crip­pling elec­tric­ity bills.

Pen­sion­ers and un­em­ployed are recog­nised as vul­ner­a­ble to the soar­ing costs of power in the Sun­shine State.

They are among 3.8 mil­lion na­tion­ally who are el­i­gi­ble for the $75 pay­ment, which is called the En­ergy As­sis­tance Pay­ment.

One can only won­der what the fed­eral pol­lies think about spe­cial hand­outs to cover the dis­tress caused by ris­ing power prices that are largely a state re­spon­si­bil­ity.

It’s per­plex­ing that Queens­land is in this po­si­tion.

Reg­u­la­tory and pric­ing agen­cies ap­pear help­less in staunch­ing the reg­u­lar price rises for en­ergy in this State, with another whop­per ap­proved just re­cently.

It is a top pri­or­ity now with con­sumers – that is, or­di­nary peo­ple. Power bills are now among the worst prob­lems fac­ing those who are strug­gling fi­nan­cially (and for in­dus­try too, from sugar pro­duc­ers who ir­ri­gate a lot, to fac­to­ries and other pro­duc­ers).

A re­cent na­tional poll showed that vot­ers are over­whelm­ingly con­cerned with power prices, but at the same time they are very much in sup­port of lower car­bon emis­sions.

At the mo­ment it ap­pears we can’t have both. There’s po­lit­i­cal paral­y­sis due to this con­tra­dic­tory set of at­ti­tudes.

Here in Dou­glas Shire there are peo­ple who en­vis­age an al­ter­na­tive sys­tem of power gen­er­a­tion, re­lated to the sugar in­dus­try.

As well as that there’s so­lar gen­er­a­tion, which in­di­vid­ual con­sumers can use to ad­dress their own cir­cum­stances.

How at­trac­tive it ap­pears, in­creas­ingly, to be rid of this mess.

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