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Advantages in retaining ownership of energy assets

Retention of power industry assets in public ownership has enabled the Palaszczuk Government to place downward pressure on electricity prices, says Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister, Curtis Pitt.

“We know price rises hit many Queenslanders because they come on top of the 43% leap in bills inflicted on them by the LNP that was too lazy to even try to influence power prices,” Mr Pitt said.

“We will not mislead Queenslanders by promising a quick and easy solution to electricity costs like the LNP did — promising a $120 a year cut but delivering an extra $436 on average bills.

“There is no ‘silver bullet’ but unlike the LNP and the do-nothing Turnbull Government we are taking direct action and using the resources and influence available to us — especially our public ownership of energy assets — to place downwards pressure on power prices.

“Tim Nicholls and the LNP wanted to sell those same assets and wash their hands of any influence over bills.

“Even today they continue to peddle myths such as claims that the debt of power bodies push up bills. That’s simply untrue — supply and demand in the National Electricity Market set prices and debt levels play no part.

“It’s actually disturbing that a former state treasurer who wants to be premier makes such a blatantly false claim.

“This is just another example of Tim Nicholls taking the lazy way out instead of delivering a sensible and workable energy plan, as we have through our $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan announced in June.

“Through our plan we’re investing $770 million to more than halve recommended price rises — resulting in a 3.3% rise for regional households not 7.1%, meaning a saving of $56 a year on the recommended increase.

“We also halved the potential rise for business operators from 8.2% to 4.1% — a $99 saving on the recommended rise.

“Our actions have shielded Queenslanders from increases of up to 20% seen in other states.”

“We also took action under our Powering Queensland Plan to direct publicly owned generator Stanwell to bring back online the gas-fired Swanbank E power station mothballed by the LNP, to inject more supply into the market, and to alter it bidding behaviour to help keep downward pressure on prices.

“These actions saw forward wholesale prices in Queensland drop by 19% in July and they are currently down by 13%.

“These actions — possible only because we kept our assets in public hands — included direction to Energex and Ergon to not appeal an Australian Energy Regulator decision that, if appeals had succeeded, would have seen prices rise.”

Mr Pitt said as a result of the Palaszczuk Government’s actions Queensland had the lowest wholesale price in the nation, and the annual electricity bill for a typical household in Queensland was $1,575 — lower than the other NEM states of NSW ($1,746), Victoria ($1,664), and SA ($2,078).

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