MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday June 5, 2018
At the same time Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg claims Australia is “through the worst of it” on energy prices, Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly are booking every interview they can shunning the Liberals so-called National Energy Guarantee (NEG).
Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks said Minister Frydenberg must admit his claim that people were “sick and tired of the hyper-partisanship” that dominates debate was a criticism of himself and the Liberal Party.
“Josh Frydenberg must admit Australia would have settled this energy debate a decade ago if it wasn’t for Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party blowing it up at every opportunity,” Mr Hicks said.
“But his delusions continue in the belief that his NEG will fix the mess when Abbott and Craig Kelly sit on the backbench, looking for more ways to sabotage Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership.”
In addition to the Turnbull Government’s hard-right standing in the way of progress, Mr Hicks said it was time for Frydenberg to come down hard on energy retailers who have gouged consumers for more than a decade.
“Josh Frydenberg is living in fantasyland where energy retailers have suddenly grown hearts and are going to do what’s best for Australian households,” Mr Hicks said.
“These companies are held in such low esteem, consumers have less trust in energy retailers than they have in banks or the media.
“Energy retailers must give consumers more information, and they must pass on savings instead of banking them as profits,” Mr Hicks said.
Meanwhile nearly every state and territory with fully or partially privatised electricity networks are facing further price hikes according to recent pricing proposals published by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
ETU analysis of the AER proposals show privatised states’ prices are set to rise while nearly all public owned utilities will pass on decreases.
The ETU National Secretary said big announcements about tiny cuts to energy prices are one thing, but the situation was still dire when the AER is investigating retailers for possibly gouging customers more than $400 million a year to cover unpaid tax bills.
“You can’t believe Frydenberg has Australian energy consumers’ best interests at heart when he, and his predecessor Ian MacFarlane, failed to do anything about claims people were rorted more than $1.2 billion by energy retailers.
“Now add the revelation that Western Sydney household power bills were hundreds of millions of dollars more than they should be.
“And this week a former industry insider revealed energy retailers have been ‘defending their indefensible behaviour’ for 15 years and are focused on profits, not people.
“But Frydenberg, Turnbull and Abbott continue to play politics and attack states for investing in renewable technology as the Liberals set laughable carbon reduction targets,” Mr Hicks said.
Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum
0419 499 886, firstname.lastname@example.org