ELECTION: Your candidates outline their power price promises
POWER prices and energy security have become deciding factors in the upcoming Federal Election, with Wide Bay and Hinkler's candidates outlining plans that range from low-emission coal to a higher emphasis on renewables.
Your candidates were quizzed on how they planned to solve the power problem, including how power costs could be reduced, what the best way to achieve this might be and how important they thought the issue was to their constituents.
Amy Byrnes (AJP)
AUSTRALIA has the highest per capita emissions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with 25 tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted per person every year.
Community awareness and education is key, however, alternative sources of clean energy are also required to rapidly reduce our reliance on dirty energy.
Increases in competition and consumer choice will drive prices down and community education will help people to make cleaner, more sustainable and more efficient energy choices.
Both the environmental impact and the cost of power are concerns for Hinkler constituents as power is a necessity and the rising costs are creating growing financial pressures. Household electricity is one-sixth of our energy usage, so we need more than panels on roofs to decarbonise our energy infrastructure.
People are highly aware of the climate crisis we face and would like to see swift action from the government to quickly address the extreme weather events, soaring temperatures, loss of livelihoods and the cruel waste of animal lives from drought and flood that we have had to endure here in the Hinkler region.
We aim to prohibit any fossil fuel expansion.
Joe Ellul (UAP)
I CAN tell you that the cost of electricity in the region is a problem.
It's a real pain Hinkler residents are feeling every time they open an energy bill.
I have been out in the region taking to small business owners and individuals and they are all under stress by the cost of electricity.
High electricity bills just take more and more money away from our households.
There has been a massive decline in the standard of living for Australians residing in regional Australia.
It's time we did something about it. I can tell you that the one-off $75 electricity payment released in the latest budget doesn't cut it, especially since, if you're even eligible, you won't be getting the one-off $75 payment until 2024.
Firstly, let's look at who actually owns our energy companies? Where are the profits going?
With a name like 'EnergyAustralia' you would be forgiven to believe this is an Australian-owned business ... the truth is that it's foreign-owned.
A great deal of our current electricity costs are due to billion-dollar loans to foreign companies at 10 per cent interest. Industries took our massive loans with foreign investors and it is the everyday Australians paying back the interest.
Damiam Huxham (ONP)
EVERYONE I speak with tells me the same thing, "electricity is far too expensive".
We are an energy-rich nation yet we have the most expensive electricity prices in the world. At the same time we export our quality coal to foreign countries for their citizens to enjoy affordable reliable electricity.
This extra cost to power prices because of the government using our money to subsidise ideological energy schemes come with no evidence that the climate will change, even if Australia produces zero CO2 emissions. In fact, experts say there would be virtually no change to the earth's temperature if Australia didn't produce any emissions.
While most people, myself included, support renewables, coal guarantees a constant reliable baseload affordable electricity that can be dispatched any time - night-time, when the wind isn't blowing, when the sun isn't shining - any time.
More low-emission coal-fired power stations will reduce the burden of the excessive cost of electricity, and removing the GST component from an electricity bill will give 'immediate' relief for families and businesses struggling to afford electricity. If people want to see change in how the government works ... they need to change the people they send to government.
Anne Jackson (GRN)
WE NEED to create a publicly-owned national energy retailer to compete with private power companies, stop price gouging and drive down power bills.
We also need to drive investment in renewables to create new jobs in clean energy and provide cheaper, more reliable electricity.
Power bills are out of control and the people in our community rightly feel that we are being ripped off.
That's why we need an electricity system that puts people's cost of living concerns ahead of the profits of big corporations.
This is a climate change election and the Greens are the only party with a serious plan to lead the transition away from fossil fuels to renewables so we can tackle climate change, create the clean energy jobs of the future and deliver cheaper electricity.
David Norman (IND)
THE main three costs, highest to lowest, that make up your electricity bill are distribution, generation and retailer charges.
In this region the distribution charges are set by the Australian Energy Regulator every five years, the retail charges are set annually by Queensland Competition Authority.
Generators will offer their power to the market at the highest price they will likely get - a regular profitable sale from retailers. Providing the cheapest possible method of generation is currently the main way to cut the overall cost of power.
On smaller a scale, government-subsidised rooftop solar and wind turbines along with battery storage are viable options to reduce the need to purchase power from the grid. On a larger scale, solar farms are a viable option of providing cheaper generation to the grid. Instead of profit-driven privately owned farms the government could be investing in these and providing power at an 'as cost' basis.
To do away with electricity bills altogether will require you to disconnect from the distribution network (go off grid). This can be done by installing a self-reliant generation and storage system (solar or combine with wind and diesel generator) and a backup battery system.
Richard Pascoe (ALP)
POWER bills are a significant concern to households in Hinkler.
There has not been a clear energy policy developed by the current government which is causing a lack of investment in new energy-creating infrastructure, driving up energy prices.
Families and locals are backing renewable energy because they know more renewables means lower prices. Bill Shorten and Labor are committed to cheaper, cleaner power. We will deliver 50 per cent of power from renewables by 2030.
Labor will help families take control of their power bills by providing a rebate to install batteries and solar, end the power privatisation mess, and better regulate power prices.
A Shorten Labor Government will also modernise Australia's ageing energy transmission infrastructure to unlock new sources of clean, affordable and reliable energy.
This will support unlocking renewable energy through transmission links to renewable energy zones, new interconnectors to lower electricity prices and boost system stability, new gas infrastructure, including pipelines and pipeline upgrades and extensions and technology solutions that facilitate the smooth integration of renewable energy into energy systems and promote energy security.
Keith Pitt (LNP)
THE Queensland State Labor Government is entirely responsible for setting the price of power and owns 70 per cent of the generators.
Last financial year the State Government pocketed $1.65 billion from customers.
We need more energy generation but most importantly, it must be affordable and reliable.
When we have farmers who can't afford to irrigate their crops, seniors turning off fridges and businesses faced with million-dollar power bills, something has to be done.
Cost of living is the second biggest issue for constituents in my electorate.
Everyone uses power - families, businesses, farmers, seniors, schools, community organisations, sporting clubs - they are all suffering.
Bill Shorten should pick up the phone today and tell Premier Palaszczuk to reduce power prices and help the families, seniors, farmers and businesses that are struggling with crippling electricity prices.
Moe Turaga (IND)
WE NEED to sit with the state members and lobby for an alternative energy source or power company.
While the focus is to reduce fossil fuel-powered energy, it's important to roll in renewable energy source at a quicker rate than what we currently have so far.
If solar is what we have now, let's build on it.
I do believe that hydro power could be an alternative out of Paradise Dam.
Energy bills are very important, nothing functions without electricity these days.
People in the rural areas should never be put in this category, where no other power company can be here to compete.
We need to lower electricity prices in the rural areas to suit cost of living.
Adrian Wone (IND)
I AM focussing my campaign on delivering affordable and reliable electrical energy for Hinkler.
I propose to do this by turning the local sugar cane industry into a renewable energy industry where the entire crop will be used to produce the fuel required to power generators. In Brazil, whole cities of 160,000 use this system.
In Antarctica, sugar-based power generation is also utilised.
In Hinkler, we grow enough sugar cane to supply 100 per cent of our requirements. Renewable energy derived from agriculture is very environment friendly.
A locally based generator reduces costs because we utilise the existing grid. This is just one example how sugar-sourced energy will be cheaper than fossil fuel.
Because renewable energy is a simpler process than making sugar, the sweetener, many costs are removed. Both farmer and miller will be better off.
We cannot trust this transition to politicians. We need only recall the NBN debacle etc.
Only a true independent can achieve a transition that ensures citizens of Hinkler are the beneficiaries.
We can keep the lights on and provide competition to ensure fair pricing.
With this proposal here in Hinkler, everyone is a winner.
Llew O'Brien (LNP)
THE Liberal and Nationals Government is working to lower electricity costs and reduce pressure on the family budget with an Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples, for eligible pensioners, carers, veterans and Newstart recipients. We are also introducing a price safety net to protect customers and help them make informed choices, as well as "big stick" legislation to stop energy companies ripping off consumers, including banning sneaky late payment fees.
The Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to improving competition, which the ACCC forecasts will reduce wholesale power prices by more than 25%. The Queensland Government could slash our Ergon electricity bills today if it stopped its billion dollar price gouging practices.
High electricity costs hit local households and increase costs to business and industry, which are then passed onto consumers. The Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to protecting Wide Bay households and small businesses from high energy bills, ending rip offs in the energy sector. By contrast, independent modelling by BAEconomics shows that Bill Shorten's reckless plan to reduce emissions by 45 per cent and renewable energy target of 50 per cent would massively drive up household costs by increasing wholesale electricity prices 58 per cent, while slashing wages by $9,000 per household, and costing 330,000 jobs.
Jason Scanes (ALP)
As Wide Bay is a low-socioeconomic region, with many employees being affected by cuts to penalty rates and stagnate wage growth, the rising cost of energy prices is a significant concern for households and businesses.
Investments into alternate energy (renewable) generation and storage will create a more competitive energy market. This will drive down the cost energy providers charge and give alternative options for those seeking energy/power.
All levels of Government (council, State and Federal) need to work together and address this issue and ensure that there are incentives for households to access alternate energy sources and storage while exploring new markets and assisting new entrants into the energy market to create jobs.
There are significant opportunities for the manufacturing and production of solar technology and battery storage research manufacturing here in the Wide Bay.
With an abundance of space, well connected logistics and central location to markets, the Wide Bay is a perfect place for new energy.
Daniel Bryar (GRN)
Renewables are already driving down power prices. Australia is at the forefront of technological innovation, and with the right plan we have everything we need to repower our economy with renewables. To further reduce energy prices our power should be sold through a national, non-profit energy retailer that works for the people not for the banks. This would reduce bills by an average of $243 per year.
The Greens have a comprehensive plan to rapidly transform Australia's energy system from one of the oldest and dirtiest in the world, to one of the cleanest and smartest. Our plan to Renew Australia sets a clear and achievable plan to transform our economy by driving investment in new renewables projects and create tens of thousands of jobs.
Our plan will give all Australians cheaper energy bills and create 182,000 new jobs, in new industries and supply chains. Action on climate change will be taken, by phasing out coal power stations as they reach end-of-life, and legislating against funding new thermal coal mines. More local jobs in renewable generation facilities like the new solar farm at Susan River deliver real benefits such as local jobs and lower power prices to local industries in Wide Bay.
Tim Jerome (IND)
This is an important issue for people in the Wide Bay as many are low to middle income earners, with power prices increasing this puts an added burden on their already tight finances. Pensioners are particularly struggling as the cost of living is increasing but their pensions are staying the same. As with low to middle income earners where there are no wage increases and penalty rates are being cut.
ALP's renewable energy initiatives and electric cars are going to put more strain on the low to middle income earners with many not going to be able to afford the costs. With any new initiatives the long term financial costs and environmental costs need to be weighed up prior to moving forward. There needs to be a lot more investigations into the impact renewable energy will have on the low to middle income earners.
Andrew Schebella (UAP)
About 50 per cent of your electricity bill is attributed to 'network charges'. Electricity networks, have spent $45 billion on infrastructure and is charging this back to you. Basically, you're paying off a $45 billion loan. These loans were taken out with high interest rates.
If these loans we refinanced at today's rates you would see a significant saving on your electricity bill. That is how easily a reduction in electricity prices can be achieved.
Any avenue to reduce expenses is in the best interest of residence and people owning and operating a small business. This allows businesses to grow and create more job opportunities
United Australia Party want to see all Australians be given the best opportunity to have the best future and the best life.