Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says new laws to deregulate electricity prices in South East Queensland are another broken promise from the Newman Government on power bills.
“Deregulation of the SEQ electricity market will lead to higher prices and is another step towards the mass privatisation of Queensland’s electricity assets,” Mr Pitt said.
“Before the 2012 election Treasurer Tim Nicholls said he had a plan to lower power bills and at the election the LNP promised to cut bills by $120 a year.
“There was no talk of deregulating prices in SEQ, depot closures, job cuts or asset sales.
“Since then we have seen bills skyrocket. This financial year prices have jumped a record $268 or 22.6% for an average bill and are set to rise by another $192 or 13.6% next year.
“Campbell Newman said he would take responsibility for power prices but now he is walking away and saying it should be up to private companies to set prices.
“South East Queensland households are already struggling with record power bills thanks to the LNP and cannot afford further hikes under a deregulated electricity market.
“Independent analyst, Economics Professor John Quiggin, detailed in his report Electricity Privatisation in Australia how privatisation and deregulation has consistently led to higher prices and reduced service reliability.
“Professor Quiggin also said that Queensland would have foregone $15 billion in returns from electricity assets had the Borbidge Government gone ahead with its planned mass sell-off.
“As recently as January last year the Premier said he believed electricity assets should be owned by the people and that he didn’t support privatisation or deregulation.
“Now he has walked away from that position, just as he has walked away from his promise for no divestment of Energex, Ergon and Powerlink in this term of government or the next.
“The Premier is still trying to claim that his plan to provide the private sector with board positions on these companies in addition to selling their future profits and existing debt to the private sector isn’t privatisation or divestment.
“Nobody can take this Premier on his word in relation to privatisation and asset sales.
“It also follows the ‘Strong Choices’ website misleadingly claiming that their model for privatisation of the electricity network was merely ‘private funding’. There was no mention of private sector management or the sale of existing debt and assets as collateral.
“Already we have seen $11 billion in other state assets sold with no voter mandate.
“The only strong choice for Queenslanders will be at the next election. The LNP will sell your assets and deregulate the electricity market, Labor won’t,” Mr Pitt said.
Quotes from Campbell Newman and Jeff Seeney
“I believe the electricity assets that we own as a state of Queensland should be owned by the people. I don’t support privatisation, nor do I support deregulation…”
— Campbell Newman (Cairns Post 16 January 2013):
“My vision for the electricity sector is that we have a government-owned, world’s best practice, efficient operation owned by the people of Queensland. That is what I would like to see.”
— Campbell Newman (The Australian 9 November 2012):
“Electricity pricing in Queensland is the responsibility of the government, and that responsibility is exercised by the minister. It is in the legislation. It is in section 90 of the Queensland Electricity Act 1994 and the minister should read it. When every Queenslander opens their electricity bills from this day forward, they should sheet blame home to the minister and the government.”
— Jeff Seeney (Hansard 22 April 2009):