Australian homes got a massive price hike for gas and electricity in July and things look to get ever worse. What’s causing the rise in our power bills and is there anything being done about it?
Your electricity bills are too high. You know it, we know it, and apparently Bill Shorten knows it.
LABOR’S Bill Shorten is offering to work with the government to ease rampant electricity prices which have been “a disaster for family budgets”.
The issue has split the Coalition and set Labor states against the Federal Government as households complain of the high cost of simply switching on the lights.
But the Opposition Leader believes a combined effort could resolve the problems and is pledging to put the national interest ahead of political point scoring.
In a speech to be delivered today, he argues a joint effort would remove “policy uncertainty, the price of gridlock and inaction”.
“At the beginning of this year, Mr Turnbull spoke about ‘drawing the battlelines’ on energy policy,” Mr Shorten says in the text of a speech prepared for the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney today.
“I think there have been enough battles, more than enough.
“I say instead of choosing a new battlefield, or revisiting an old one, let’s find common ground, the sensible centre.”
He says Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg should sit down with his Labor counterpart Mark Butler, and their discussions shouldn’t bog down on hairsplitting over the differences between an emissions intensity scheme and a clean energy target.
But he made it clear that Labor expects growth in renewable energy production to be part of the solution, saying the “prize in getting renewable energy policy right is profound”.
They include lower power prices, job creation and protection of the environment.
Consumers are willing to reward companies which use renewables, according to a survey released today by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
ARENA said the survey found just 46 per cent of big businesses produce renewable power and those which do don’t use much of it — around 10 per cent of their needs.
But it said four out of five Australians believed businesses should go towards renewables, while 75 per cent said they would buy a product produced by renewables if given a choice over one that wasn’t.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Pic: AAPSource:AAP
Mr Shorten says electricity price rises of up to 19 per cent announced in NSW two weeks ago showed policy uncertainty was “a disaster for family budgets, particularly for low and middle income Australians”.
“People are angry — and they have every right to be,” he says in the text of his prepared speech.
“Especially because every time the Prime Minister puts his head on TV to say he’s fixed the problem, the prices go up again.”
The Labor Leader does not specify areas of negotiation.
“I’ve made it clear that Labor is prepared to put the national interest first,” he says.
“If the economic and environmental case stacks up, we’re not going to get stuck in a hairsplitting argument about the difference between an EIS and a CET.”
“These are tough policy issues, no doubt. But when you look at what’s at stake, failure is not an option,” he said.
“Denial or delay is not good enough. We need to find a way.”
And Mr Shorten did not relent in his attacks on the Government.
“We have a government with the means to be able to do something, just not the will,” he said.
“So let me be clear to Australians who are paying too much for power — every day the Government refuses to take action, you are paying higher prices than you should.
“Until this policy uncertainty ends, prices will keep going up. It’s time for the parliament to commit to a price on pollution.
“Everyone knows this is inevitable — your sector, business, unions, investors, not to mention the Government’s own expert advisers and regulators.”