Farmers: QCA has failed on electricity tariffs

QCA has failed on electricity tariffs say Qld farmers

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UNTOUCHED: Farmers say the Queensland Competition Authority has failed agricultural businesses by not dealing with transitional and obsolete tariffs.

UNTOUCHED: Farmers say the Queensland Competition Authority has failed agricultural businesses by not dealing with transitional and obsolete tariffs.

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Farmers say the Queensland Competition Authority has failed agricultural businesses by not dealing with transitional and obsolete tariffs.

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FARMERS say the Queensland Competition Authority has failed agricultural businesses by not dealing with transitional and obsolete tariffs as part of its final determination for 2020-21 regulated retail electricity prices.

Queensland Farmers' Federation chief executive officer Georgina Davis said the final determination released on June 25 included some good news for regional households, which would see typical bills fall by 5.9 per cent, and small businesses by 3.2pc.

"However, it is very disappointing the QCA has maintained price levels for irrigation businesses on transitional and obsolete tariffs for the third year in a row, particularly during this difficult economic period," Dr Davis said.

"In a further blow to our farming community, there appears to be nothing in the final determination that will offer highly seasonal businesses greater flexibility with tariffs that better match the seasonality of use.

"It is also disappointing that the new suite of tariffs, required to be suitable for a range of small agricultural activities and due to commence 1 July 2021, have not yet been priced."

Dr Davis said the QCA needed to be directed to price the new tariffs by October 1 to give farmers some time to assess the new retail tariffs, and decide what was best for their businesses and if any structural change or new equipment is needed.

"As farmers now turn to their economic recovery, what they need more than ever is affordable electricity and price certainty to ensure their viability producing Queensland's food, fibre and foliage into the future," Dr Davis said.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said on Thursday that regional Queensland household power bills will fall from July 1, by $84 for households and by $75 for small businesses.

Dr Lynham said the reductions came on top of two individual $50 dividend payments over the past two years and $200 COVID relief off utility bills (power and water) and $500 for small business.

He said in 2019-20 the Palaszczuk government had allocated about $500 million to subsidise regional power bills to ensure regional Queenslanders pay a similar price for power as their SEQ cousins.

"Queensland has the energy trifecta: lowest average wholesale prices on the eastern seaboard, reliable supply and a planned transition to a renewable future," Dr Lynham said.

"We are forecast to reach 20 per cent renewable generation this year and we are on target to reach 50 per cent by 2030.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said electricity bills for regional households and businesses would fall by an average of $300 under an LNP government.

Ms Frecklington said the $300 average saving would be on top of the reduction announced by the Queensland Competition Authority in its 2020-21 determination.

She said the LNP would end Ergon's monopoly by enabling private energy retailers to compete in regional Queensland would bring down prices for communities north of Gympie and from Toowoomba west.

LNP Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett said Labor had kicked the issue of tariff reform into the long grass instead of providing farmers and industry with the long-term certainty it have been calling for.

"The standstill and inaction on irrigation tariffs is a Labor made one that is hurting farmers and holding back agricultural production," Mr Perrett said.

The next Queensland election is scheduled for October 31.

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