MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday May 31, 2018

The Turnbull Government is not genuinely concerned with fixing the high electricity prices Australian households are paying into a broken system, Senate Estimates confirmed yesterday.

However, Electrical Trades Union of Australia National Secretary Allen Hicks said the Turnbull Government’s use of regulators as political attack dogs is becoming increasingly evident.

“It appears that Turnbull only uses regulators for pursuing the Liberal Party’s ideological agendas, while completely ignoring what their actual role is,” Mr Hicks said.

Mr Hicks said the Liberal’s contempt for regulators and voters was made clear during Senate Estimates on Wednesday when the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) confirmed the Liberal Government had dragged its heels when it came to the alleged $400 million a-year tax rorts of energy customers.

“The former Abbott Government energy minister was warned Australian households were likely being gouged hundreds of millions of dollars more than three years ago and nothing happened,” Mr Hicks said.

“Alarms were raised with Josh Frydenberg earlier this year that Australians were possibly being ripped off $400 million a year and he did nothing.” 

Mr Hicks said the energy minister had some hide to claim credit for an investigation into the possible power company rorts when he and his predecessor, Ian MacFarlane, ignored the warnings.

“Minister Frydenberg does not care about the high electricity prices Australians are paying or that they might have needlessly paid more than $1.2 billion on their power bills,” Mr Hicks said. 

“It was only after the AER said it was looking into claims of massive rorting that Frydenberg decided he might actually do something for Australian households.”

Mr Hicks said it was remarkable that Turnbull and Frydenberg had called for the energy regulator to “investigate” renewable energy, poles and wires, and another into the closure of the Liddell powerplant.

But it never found time to investigate why the NSW Liberal Government sold Liddell for nothing,  the tax-rort reports or why energy retailers and generators aren’t passing on price cuts. 

“Despite being consumed by infighting and a gangrenous right-wing, the Turnbull Government never seems to deliver what’s best for the Australian public,” the National Secretary said.

“Yet for political purposes, the Liberals always manage to get the ABCC, the ROC and the Australian Federal Police to do what they want.

“The Turnbull Government’s only priority is itself, not the Australian people and certainly not fixing the Australian energy market,” Mr Hicks said.

Media enquiries:

ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum  

0419 499 886, nicholas@etuaustralia.org.au­­