Record numbers of pensioners in regional Queensland are seeing electricity disconnected as the Newman Government’s failure to keep a core election promise continues to bite.
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the latest disconnections data from the Queensland Competition Authority revealed that more than 730 pensioners had ‘switched off the lights for good’ during the March quarter after not being able to afford ever-increasing power bills.
Mr Pitt said that for the March 2013 quarter, 425 pensioners had their power cut after being faced with skyrocketing bills.
He said others were making tough decisions just so they could make ends meet and keep the lights on.
“I’m horrified that Queenslanders feel they need to switch off the lights for good because of Campbell Newman’s electricity price hikes,” Mr Pitt said.
“Clearly, pensioners, people on fixed incomes and low incomes are those suffering the most.
“The fact that unemployment under the Newman Government has skyrocketed to 6.8%, the highest in over a decade, means many families are finding it tougher than ever to pay the bills.
“Electricity prices have gone through the roof under the Newman Government despite promises they would save people $120 each year.
“In contrast, electricity prices have risen an average of $442 a year.
“That’s yet another broken promise that Queenslanders will remember come the next election.”
Mr Pitt said pensioners had no room to move with tight budgets and fixed incomes.
“The Newman Government is the same Government that made the decision to axe pensioner concessions in its budget.
“What kind of Government would do that in the first place?
“They didn’t stand up to the Abbott Government and to these callous cuts.
“Following sustained pressure from Labor and from community groups, the Newman Government was finally dragged kicking and screaming into reversing this callous decision.
“Who knows what will come when it’s not an election year budget.
“Sadly, under the Newman Government, Queenslanders can’t take having the lights on for granted.”