POWER PLAY

LNP pledges to cre­ate com­pe­ti­tion for Er­gon

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - JES­SICA COOK BLAKE AN­TROBUS

THE State Op­po­si­tion has re­turned fire on this week’s con­tro­ver­sial bud­get with a prom­ise to break Er­gon’s stran­gle­hold on re­gional homes.

In her Bud­get Re­ply yes­ter­day, LNP Leader Deb Freck­ling­ton an­nounced her plan to level the play­ing field for elec­tric­ity re­tail­ers in the Wide Bay where Er­gon re­mains the only choice.

But the move has been dis­missed as “spin” by Mary­bor­ough’s La­bor MP.

NEW com­peti­tors could be in­tro­duced to the elec­tric­ity mar­ket un­der a plan by the State Op­po­si­tion to ease power price pain in Fraser Coast homes.

LNP Leader Deb Freck­ling­ton an­nounced a plan to level the play­ing field for elec­tric­ity re­tail­ers in the area dur­ing her bud­get re­ply speech yes­ter­day.

“House­holds in re­gional Queens­land de­serve af­ford­able en­ergy but the gov­ern­ment-owned Er­gon En­ergy has a stran­gle­hold on the mar­ket,” Ms Freck­ling­ton said.

“The LNP be­lieves more com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket­place is the best way to drive down prices and should not be re­stricted to the South­east corner.

“South­east Queens­lan­ders are spoilt for choice when it comes to their en­ergy re­tail­ers while re­gional com­mu­ni­ties are chained to Er­gon.

“It’s not good enough that Queens­lan­ders north of Gympie and west of Toowoomba are treated like sec­ond-class cit­i­zens.”

Ms Freck­ling­ton said giv­ing re­gional Queens­lan­ders the chance to shop around would save house­holds around $300 a year. But Mary­bor­ough MP Bruce Saun­ders said the an­nounce­ment was “spin” and ques­tioned what the LNP would do with the elec­tric­ity sub­si­dies al­ready in­vested in re­gional Queens­land.

“The devil is in the de­tails, if we lose that $513 mil­lion in sub­si­dies, then power will go through the roof,” Mr Saun­ders said.

“There’s no sub­stance in her ac­tual speech.”

Photo: DAR­REN ENG­LAND

BUD­GET RE­PLY: Lib­eral Na­tional Party Leader Deb Freck­ling­ton (right) is seen de­liv­er­ing her Bud­get Re­ply speech at Par­lia­ment House in Bris­bane.

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