Queens­land’s house­hold bill rise the low­est

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - MARK BAI­LEY

TIM Ni­cholls must have been liv­ing un­der a rock not to have no­ticed the Palaszczuk La­bor Govern­ment’s en­ergy re­forms un­der the Pow­er­ing Queens­land Plan re­leased last month.

Us­ing the levers avail­able to us be­cause we kept our as­sets in pub­lic hands, we slashed the 7.1 per cent in­crease by more than half the same day the Queens­land Com­pe­ti­tion Author­ity an­nounced it, in­vest­ing $ 770 mil­lion to shield Queens­land con­sumers from large rises seen in other states.

We com­mit­ted $ 386 mil­lion un­der our Pow­er­ing North Queens­land Plan in­clud­ing for a North Queens­land clean en­ergy hub, and brought back gas gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity moth­balled by the LNP to put down­ward pres­sure on whole­sale prices.

Within a day of our plan’s re­lease, whole­sale en­ergy fu­tures prices plunged 10 per cent in Queens­land, which the En­ergy Users As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia said was “pro­vid­ing real ben­e­fit and a ray of hope for all en­ergy users”.

As Camp­bell New­man’s trea­surer and right- hand man, Tim Ni­cholls had the power for three years to back Queens­land elec­tric­ity con­sumers and what hap­pened?

Dou­ble- digit price surges were the norm year- in, yearout, to­talling 43 per cent while he tried to pri­va­tise our power as­sets which would have ac­cel­er­ated even more price spi­rals.

Tim Ni­cholls has no cred­i­bil­ity on elec­tric­ity and now he’s at it again get­ting ba­sic facts wrong in his col­umn this week.

Elec­tric­ity prices for house­holds are the same whether you live in Townsville of Glad­stone be­cause they’re reg­u­lated.

In con­trast to our 3.3 per cent, states with pri­va­tised power had huge rises this year – 19 per cent in South Aus­tralia and ACT, 11 per cent in NSW and 9.6 per cent in Vic­to­ria.

Mr Ni­cholls also ig­nores the re­new­able en­ergy boom in North Queens­land with so­lar power sta­tions cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion in Townsville, Clare, Collinsville, Kid­ston and soon at Ross River – de­liv­er­ing jobs and en­ergy se­cu­rity.

Sun­metals’ Townsville so­lar sta­tion will pro­vide baseload power for its zinc re­fin­ery.

The fact is large- scale re­new­ables are now the cheap­est form of en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture com­pared to new coal- fired as con­firmed by our na­tion’s chief sci­en­tist at the Se­nate Es­ti­mates Com­mit­tee and AGL head Andy Ve­sey.

Peak busi­ness body the Aus­tralian In­dus­try Group said a new coal- fired power sta­tion would not re­coup its costs un­less whole­sale elec­tric­ity prices were sus­tained at around dou­ble their his­toric av­er­age. They’re no hard- left green group – that’s the hard­nosed busi­ness sec­tor talk­ing.

That’s why the Palaszczuk Govern­ment is in­vest­ing $ 386 mil­lion to de­velop a North Queens­land Clean En­ergy Hub to har­ness the plung­ing cost of re­new­ables for the North.

Queens­land al­ready has eight huge tra­di­tional baseload gen­er­a­tors – we have no short­age at all of baseload. What we have a short­age of is re­new­able en­ergy to in­crease en­ergy sup­ply while act­ing on cli­mate change and re­duc­ing im­pact on the Great Bar­rier Reef.

By get­ting ba­sic facts wrong and look­ing to the dis­tant past for so­lu­tions, Tim Ni­cholls shows he is as big a risk to the North’s econ­omy and jobs now as when he was trea­surer.

Real lead­er­ship is be­ing across the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ments and en­sur­ing the best out­comes for house­hold power bills.

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