Talk­ing dam wa­ter and price of power

Central Telegraph - - NEWS | OPINION -

THE LNP’s over-sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of Queens­land’s dam wa­ter sit­u­a­tion and the ef­fect on ir­ri­ga­tors is be­cause their mem­bers fail to un­der­stand the dams’ op­er­a­tions and as­so­ci­ated costs.

The Palaszczuk gov­ern­ment absolutely wants farm­ers and ir­ri­ga­tors to be able to use avail­able wa­ter ap­pro­pri­ately and is con­stantly work­ing with land­hold­ers via my Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Mines and En­ergy and with wa­ter and elec­tric­ity providers.

As a di­rect re­sult of our af­ford­abil­ity mea­sures, the QCA did not in­crease elec­tric­ity tar­iffs for farm­ing and ir­ri­ga­tion cus­tomers in 2018–19.

Many ir­ri­ga­tors are ex­posed to elec­tric­ity us­age through two ways.

The first is through their on-farm pump­ing costs.

Farm­ing and ir­ri­ga­tion cus­tomers are en­cour­aged to con­tact Er­gon En­ergy, which can pro­vide free ad­vice on the best elec­tric­ity tar­iff for their busi­ness needs.

The sec­ond is in­cluded in the price of wa­ter. To re­duce the im­pact as much as pos­si­ble, the gov­ern­ment di­rects SunWater to pro­vide wa­ter be­low cost to ir­ri­ga­tion cus­tomers.

Un­der the cur­rent price paths (set in 2012 as part of the last QCA price re­view), SunWater does not fully re­coup the cost of pump­ing and de­liv­er­ing wa­ter to its ir­ri­ga­tion cus­tomers.

This year the Palaszczuk gov­ern­ment will spend about $464 mil­lion to sub­sidise the cost of elec­tric­ity for about 700,000 re­gional Queens­lan­ders so they pay a sim­i­lar price to cus­tomers in the south­east.

The gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted $10 mil­lion to­wards ex­tend­ing the suc­cess­ful En­ergy Savers Plus Pro­gram.

The pro­gram, de­liv­ered in part­ner­ship with Queens­land Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion, sup­port 200 farms with a free en­ergy au­dit and fund­ing to help im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and re­duce op­er­at­ing costs.

— Dr An­thony Lyn­ham, Min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources

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