Union Slams AER over funding cuts for QLD energy companies

Attention Political and General Reporters

5 June 2020

Cuts to vital funding for electricity maintenance programs will leave Queensland exposed… ETU

AER and NEM no longer fit for purpose

The Electrical Trades Union Qld NT (ETU) responded angrily to the latest Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) determination to slash Energy Queensland’s budget used for vital maintenance. The AER determination will see $1.1B in revenue slashed from the company’s forward budgets for the years 2020- 2025.

ETU State Assistant Secretary Stuart Traill said the AER determination could leave workers, communities and businesses exposed to potentially unsafe electricity infrastructure.

“What the AER fail to recognise is that the funding cuts could mean cuts to vital maintenance that needs to be done in regional Queensland including upgrades to aged conductors and, timber pole and crossarm replacements. These are safety related maintenance and need to be done following an increase in network failures.” Mr Traill said.

“The AER has once again failed to understand the extensive nature of Queensland’s electricity network and while it paints its determination as a win due to reduced costs, it fails to recognise the potential severe disruption to regional businesses and communities already struggling due to COVID-19 if the electricity network fails.” He said.

The union also took aim at the dysfunctional National Energy Market (NEM), describing it as a farce and no longer fit for purpose.

“We call on the State Government to follow the leads of Victoria and Tasmania and draw up legislation to withdraw Queensland from the farcical NEM. The NEM it is sadly mired in the ineptness that represents the Federal Government’s non-existent energy policy and is of no material benefit to Queensland or Queenslanders, we should get out now and go it alone.” Traill said.

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