Competition no ‘silver bullet’ on power prices

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has questioned whether the LNP will push ahead with asset sales under their power price proposal.

A PROMISE by the LNP to introduce competition into regional Queensland’s electricity market, is “nowhere near a complete solution” to lowering prices for households, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto labelled the LNP’s claim of electricity prices for households and businesses falling by an average of $300 per year if elected to power as “a fantasy wrapped in failed free market ideology”.

“It’s no secret that in jurisdictions where competition has been introduced it has not done anything to stop prices going up. Residents in Victoria and south-east Queensland have seen similar skyrocketing prices to regional Queensland, proving more than competition is required to bring down prices. Why the LNP keep trying to convince people that privatisation and competition are the silver bullets to bring down electricity prices is beyond me.”

Mr Dametto said those he had spoken to in the energy industry had made it “crystal clear” what was required to bring down power prices.

“Industry bodies have told us that the removal of unnecessary regulatory charges which inflate power prices would be a huge help. Things like banning energy network owners from overvaluing their assets to inflate their returns. This could save customers $500 million to $1 billion per annum. Additionally, removing the Competitive Neutrality Fee so Queensland’s state-owned energy businesses can borrow at the government interest rate instead of market rates as well as removing unnecessary charges levied by the Queensland Competition Authority could reduce prices by up to 10 per cent,” he said.

“This will mean more money in your back pocket to help with the cost of living.”

Mr Dametto took issue with the LNP’s “obsession” with the free market.

“I’m concerned what the definition of competition means to the LNP. Are we talking about asset sales? They need to come clean on this with voters,” he said.

“Competition in and of itself is not a bad thing but the idea that competition is the sole answer is completely false. It’s just an easy answer to appease the LNP’s inner-city white collar corporate masters.

“Katter’s Australian Party does not believe any strategic asset should be sold as it risks being gutted by private enterprise and could potentially end up in the hands of foreign interests,” he said.

“Voters should be very careful who they trust to lower their power prices at the upcoming State election. The KAP has a practical plan that will work.”

Nick Dametto MP