THE holistic solution required by farmers to address Queensland’s energy crisis is still to be seen says Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage.
Mr Armitage said while it was encouraging that all parties had released policies and announced some positive commitments, there was still no holistic solution for farmer.
“The LNP and Katter’s Australia Party have committed to addressing the network assets optimisation issue – the LNP by writing down Energy Queensland’s regulated asset base, KAP by valuing the assets at actual cost rather than replacement cost,” Mr Armitage said.
“This is an important shift as the gold plating of the poles and wires is the number one driver of electricity price increases.
There is still time before November 25 for parties to hone their offerings.
“The LNP commitment needs to go further, as it only writes the RAB down by about 6.5 per cent when 50pc is required to deliver real price relief.
“The LNP’s $75 million Food and Fibre Transition Payment for farmers on tariffs 62, 65 and 66 is also a constructive first step. But when the three-year $1400 payment runs out we will still be left with unsuitable tariffs.
“Encouragingly, KAP have committed to directly dealing with the transitional tariffs issue by indefinitely freezing the proposed changes.
“KAP, The Greens and One Nation have all committed, in different ways, to addressing the four hidden taxes on the government owned corporations that accounted for about $3 billion in government revenue last year – about $12b over the last three years.”
Mr Armitage said Labor has best addressed on farm demand management and energy efficiency with its commitment to a $10m extension of the Energy Savers Program. That would see 200 extra energy audits and offer a 50pc co-contribution (capped at $20,000) towards the cost of implementing changes recommended through the audits, he said.
“However, without addressing the price side, Labor must significantly ramp up this program so more farmers can benefit and evolve the program over time to address broader productivity issues,” Mr Armitage said.
“While it is encouraging to see our politicians acknowledge and begin to address the complicated failures association with Queensland’s energy crisis, no party has offered the holistic approach our sector needs.
“The next Queensland Government must be willing to look beyond the one or two areas their party has identified and commit to a longer-term agenda to deliver change.
“There is still time before November 25 for parties to hone their offerings, and for the sake of our sector and the Queensland economy more broadly, let’s hope they do.”