Why are we waiting for another electricity market report as families choose between heating or eating?

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday July 10, 2018

Some Australian families are being forced to pick between heating their homes or putting food on their tables while we wait for another electrical market report to tell us what we already know.

Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks is asking why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is still failing to act as he sits on an ACCC report into our energy market when people are suffering through high prices and low temperatures this winter.

“No wonder there are calls for a royal commission into Australia’s energy market when a wealthy nation like this has families having to choose between eating or heating,” Mr Hicks said.

“The Turnbull Government has delayed action on electricity for too long, prices are still higher than they need to be because electrical retailers are making more profits than they should be.

“But Turnbull Josh Frydenberg are paralysed from taking action because the Nationals and Tony Abbott are in all-out revolt against the already ineffectual National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

“Australia’s power policy has been paralysed for a decade with the debate becoming ever more complicated when it could be simple and should put consumers first.”

The ETU National Secretary said the unseen ACCC report only follows reports from last week that allowed vested interests to hog then news while average energy consumers were left scratching their heads.

First it was the Grattan Institute claims electrical companies are making mega-bucks from consumers by “gaming” the system, high prices are here to stay, and somehow more privatisation is the answer.

Then it was the Australian Industry Group (AiG), which also has a history of calling for network privatisation, suddenly saying more government intervention is needed and the NEG, which hasn’t even been fully drafted yet, is the right policy.

Meanwhile, despite Abbott’s crocodile tears, Australian households are being forgotten in the debate over an electricity market system that’s being played exactly as it was designed.

“Australian power policy has been paralysed for a decade with the debate becoming ever more complicated when it could be simple and should put consumers first,” Mr Hicks said.

“This is an essential service, a monopoly that should be owned and controlled by the people and working for the people – not for the profits of large multinational corporations.

“All of these reports continue to show us that the laws that created this fabricated electricity market are a complete failure.

“Privatisation has failed. The creation of the artificial market has failed.

“This neo-liberal market-focused agenda that began in the 1990s has driven prices through the roof.  

“It’s unnecessarily complicated, but deliberately so, so corporate interests can hide their profiteering.

“Australian households don’t need another report to tell them that. They need action and certainty but instead they get nothing but infighting and dithering from Turnbull, Frydenberg and Liberal-Nationals Government,” Mr Hicks said.   

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, nicholas@etuaustralia.org.au


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