Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says reports on power pricing being hidden by the Newman Government should be released today.
“Given the proposed 21% rise in household power bills, Queenslanders need to know the contents of these reports the Newman Government commissioned and they need to know what the government has been doing to control prices for the past 11 months,” Mr Pitt said.
“The LNP said before the 2012 election it had all the answers to controlling power costs and cutting bills, so we need to see their solutions in these reports that are now overdue for public release.
“So far the Newman Government has been totally inept at handling power prices. It promised ongoing annual savings of $120 a year but did not wait for the Queensland Competition Authority’s report and instead rushed into a tariff freeze last year.
“That same price freeze is directly responsible for a part of the QCA’s proposed 21% price rise as a catch-up.
“The Premier has now tried to clamber out of the political hole he dug himself by promising no double-digit rises. That means a ceiling on power price increase of less than 10%, yet there are no details of how that will be achieved.
“The clock is ticking with the QCA’s final recommendation due on May 31 so these reports must be released in order for the government to make an informed submission to the QCA.”
Mr Pitt said despite promising action on power prices and reforms of the industry the LNP government had still not released:
- the final report of the Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) which was promised by January this year,
- the final report of the three-member Independent Review Panel on Network Costs (IRP) which was due in December 2012. (Page 2 of IRP’s interim report).
“In July last year Energy Minister Mark McArdle also said the IDC and IRP would help the government develop its 30 Year Plan for Queensland’s Electricity Sector which the Premier promised to release before the end of 2012,” Mr Pitt said.
“Despite that clear commitment all we have seen so far is a discussion paper.
“I understand the government has received the final IDC report, so we need to know what it says and what recommendations the government will be implementing.
“Mr McArdle said the IDC would ‘tackle spiralling cost of living rises to households and business’.
“Given the failure of the LNP to keep its promises to cut power costs it is no wonder the LNP government wants to keep the IDC’s report and the final findings of the IRP under wraps,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the interim report by the three-member Independent Review Panel made public in November last year had examined future ownership of power distribution bodies Energex and Ergon, known as distribution network service providers (DNSPs).
He said the IRP’s interim report (page 39) had recommended: “The government give consideration to the privatisation of the DNSPs.”
“It seems by keeping these reports hidden the government will seek to use them to support a push for privatisation once the Costello Audit’s final report is released,” he said.