31 May 2016: Irrigators of Qld are fed up as electricity set to jump another 12.3%
Any plans to grow irrigated agriculture in Queensland and increase the value of farming to the state’s economy are doomed to fail if electricity prices are not brought under control says peak sugarcane grower body, CANEGROWERS.
The latest 12.3% hike in transitional irrigation tariffs confirmed today by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA), and due to be applied from 1 July, has left farmers angry and in despair. It takes the cumulative price rises since 1 July 2007 to 120%.
“The spiralling cost of electricity to run pumps to water farming land has become an untenable outlay and many of our growers, and those growing other food crops, are being forced to make the decision to switch their pumps off and loose vital productivity and profitability,” said CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan.
"It is an unacceptable and unnecessary situation.”
On behalf of our members CANEGROWERS has been making submissions into various reviews almost every month now for the past three years.
“Yet our proposed solutions, backed by research, are ignored. The Queensland Government barely acknowledges the problem let alone offers any solutions,” Mr Galligan said. “This is a complex issue but we are sick of the buck passing.”
Last year the Queensland Government said power prices would be reined in; QCA reported electricity cost pressures were easing; and reflecting lower interest rates, the Australian Energy Regulator cut Ergon and Energex’s capital recoveries - the largest component of the electricity costs.
“These new proposed hikes make a mockery of all of that,” Mr Galligan said. “The electricity pricing system is broken, prices are out of control and the Queensland Government is adding fuel to the fire by loading these businesses up with debt as they struggle to pay their bills.”
“Farmers are fed up with this situation. Our voices and concerns have been ignored.”