PM to grill power chiefs

More trans­parency called for on pric­ing deals

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - MATTHEW KILLORAN

ELEC­TRIC­ITY re­tail bosses will be hauled in to Can­berra to­day and told to “do bet­ter” on power prices crip­pling Aus­tralian house­holds.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull will meet the heads of eight power com­pa­nies to de­mand an­swers on why con­sumers are be­ing pushed from dis­counted prices to higher price con­tracts without their knowl­edge. Elec­tric­ity price hikes have hit Queens­land hard, with 460 dis­con­nec­tions a week, while one Bris­banebased man­u­fac­turer re­vealed it had been hit with a $ 135,000 a year in­crease – or 25 per cent, in 12 months.

Mr Turn­bull said he would push for more trans­parency in pric­ing deals.

“The gap be­tween the worst and best of­fers can range from $ 900 to $ 1500 de­pend­ing on the house­hold. This sit­u­a­tion must be ad­dressed – ur­gently and di­rectly,” he said.

“Th­ese com­pa­nies can and they must do bet­ter.”

Bosses from En­ergy Aus­tralia, Ori­gin En­ergy, AGL, Snowy Hy­dro, Mo­men­tum En­ergy, Alinta En­ergy, Sim­ply En­ergy and Aus­tralian En­ergy Coun­cil were called to the meet­ing to­day.

Packer Leather di­rec­tor Lind­say Packer said his fam­ily’s com­pany ex­ported kan­ga­roo hides, but con­tin­u­ally had its mar­gins squeezed be­cause, while costs went up, they could not in­crease their own prices while re­main­ing com­pet­i­tive in­ter­na­tion­ally.

“The Govern­ment’s prom­ises are off in the never- never. We want to see changes that hap­pen im­me­di­ately where prices flat­line or start to dip a lit­tle,” Mr Packer said.

“It doesn’t mat­ter what side of pol­i­tics, but the poli­cies we’ve had the past 10 years are driv­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing away.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how ef­fi­cient you try to get, I’m not see­ing gov­ern­ments re­spond­ing to in­dus­try.”

The fifth- gen­er­a­tion fam­ily- owned Aus­tralian com­pany has its leather used in pink Kook­aburra cricket balls and Sher­rin foot­balls.

Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son and En­ergy Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg will also at­tend the meet­ing with the en­ergy bosses.

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