Liberals' Inaction on Power Prices Leaves Families, Businesses to Pay

Tasmanian Labor

As pressure mounts on Tasmanian families and businesses struggling with skyrocketing energy costs, damning RTI documents have revealed the Liberal Government's failure to take meaningful action.

In June last year, Michael Ferguson specifically requested advice on how to reduce high power price impacts on commercial and industrial customers and options were provided (though details are redacted).

Since then, nothing has been done. There has been no support for these unregulated customers at all since prices started to skyrocket and we are seeing the impacts right across the business community. It is only last week that we saw Boag's announcing the end to its visitor centre, sighting massive power price increases.

The Liberals were also given an early warning that power prices were about the skyrocket for all Tasmanians, yet still could not get their winter energy package in place until the end of November.

The Government was advised the day before last year's budget that prices were about to go up by 12 per cent, three weeks before the economic regulator made its determination. In November, Tasmanians doing it tough were still waiting for any kind of relief.

The documents also reveal that as well as abandoning its election commitment to remove Tasmania from the National Electricity Market, the Government was proactively advised that its legislative mechanism to intervene in power prices would expire in June 2021, and allowed that to happen, even though its own 2021 election policy had stated:

"We have successfully de-linked from mainland wholesale market volatility through legislated, capped regulated power prices and the Commercial and Industrial rebate scheme.

"In the event of future volatility, we retain the ability to re-introduce one or both of these schemes in order to protect Tasmanian households and business from future price hikes."

This was a promise broken only one month into this term of government

Instead of offering $1 million bailouts, the government should go to the root of the cause for so much stress right across Tasmanian businesses.

The government should cap power prices for residential and small business customers and reintroduce the rebate scheme for larger customers, like Boag's.

With all our cheap, renewable energy Tasmanians should be paying Tasmanian prices for Tasmanian power.

Dean Winter MP

Shadow Minister for Energy

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