MP: Small businesses can’t survive ‘unfair’ energy policy
AN "UNFAIR" energy policy is crippling small businesses and leaving Queensland trailing behind other states, Mirani MP Stephen Andrew claims.
Mr Andrew has called on the Queensland Government to change the way it delivers energy to better serve small businesses across the state.
"We have a lower threshold from where we change from small business tariffs into (large) business tariffs, which is 100 megawatt hours," he said
This was putting the state at a 50-60 per cent disadvantage to South Australia and Tasmania, which had higher transition points respectively, he said.
Mr Andrew has suggested the State Government change the small business threshold from 100MW hours to 200MW hours so "people get a better rate for a longer period of time".
By increasing the threshold for small business tariffs, he said, Queensland businesses would make more profit, avoid becoming unprofitable due to excess electricity charges and ensure there was confidence in the market.
"People would use more electricity, start more businesses, be able to deal with the costs a lot … better if we were able to make small changes instead of just gouging business to the point where there is just nothing left to make," he said.
The current tariff system was hurting local businesses, he said, in particular butchers who relied heavily on cooling systems.
"All your little family butcher shops that … hand-pick the meat to make sure the quality is there are going to disappear because they cannot afford electricity with the current tariff regimes that are in place," he said.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the State Government understood putting downward pressure on energy costs helped small businesses create jobs.
"That's why we have our Affordable Energy Plan that's meant Queensland has the lowest average electricity prices of mainland states in the National Electricity Market," Dr Lynham said.
"The Government subsidises regional electricity prices for small business so that they pay broadly the same level as small businesses in South East Queensland."