High energy costs a ‘secret’ tax: Nicholls

WITH Queensland power bills soaring, independent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission boss Rod Sims this week confirmed an open secret.

Under Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor, the government-owned electricity generators have been manipulating the market and gouging families and businesses.

Mr Sims told the National Press Club: “Generator market power was clearly seen in Queensland with two generators having two-thirds of capacity and prices spiking.

“When the Queensland Government directed its generators to tone down their bidding, prices immediately reduced significantly.”

In other words, Labor has been caught out using electricity prices as a secret tax on Queenslanders.

For state-owned utilities to be driving up power bills for the sake of this financially- inept government’s budget black hole is disgraceful.

Queensland electricity prices are at record highs and families and businesses are hurting because of one reason only: Annastacia Palaszczuk.

In the lead-up to the election, the Premier seems strangely intent on talking about trust and delivery.

I am more than happy to set the record straight.

The Premier was part of the Bligh cabinet that locked in 70 per cent increases to network prices in 2010-11.

This is an indisputable fact that she chooses to conveniently ignore.

As Premier, she ripped out 100 per cent dividends from the government’s energy businesses, loaded them up with $5 billion of debt and allowed government-owned generator Stanwell Corporation to game the system, driving up electricity prices.

This combination of actions has resulted in record power prices for every single Queensland household, business and manufacturer.

And the situation is only going to get worse if Labor is afforded another term in government.

Annastacia Palaszczuk also fails to mention that every single Queenslander is currently paying $95 per year to fund renewable energy through their electricity bills – whether they like it or not.

Imagine what the eventual cost will be if Labor is allowed to ramp up to its reckless 50 per cent renewable target?

The Queensland Productivity Commission Report into Electricity Pricing, commissioned by the Premier, found families would pay $317 million more for electricity as a result of Labor’s 50% renewable energy policy.

It also stated that business would pay $221 million more and industry would be slugged $746 million more for electricity.

As well, the report revealed Queenslanders would be subsidising electricity prices in other states and Queensland’s economy would shrink. We’d see $10.8 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies.

If Annastacia Palaszczuk really wants to talk about trust, it is high-time she comes clean with Queenslanders on her government’s family- and industry-destroying energy policies.

She needs to have an honest conversation with Queenslanders, explaining to them why she is ripping them off through their electricity bills.

Tim Nicholls

Queensland LNP Leader

You can read Mr Sims’ full speech here www.accc.gov.au

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