The National Irrigators’ Council has welcomed strong action by Government to give regulators more teeth to crack down on excessive profits by electricity companies and ensure a genuine competitive market.

CEO Steve Whan said, “the announcement by the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Energy Minister is a very welcome commitment to a strong follow-up on the recommendations made by the ACCC in its thorough assessment of the electricity market.

“NIC as a part of the Agriculture Industries Energy Taskforce (Ag Energy Taskforce) has been highlighting for some years now the role excessive profits by network owners and a failed electricity market are playing in making Australia less competitive as a producer of food and fibre.

“Our members think this is so serious, that last week – and after years of frustration – they voted to advocate a Royal Commission focusing on the operation of the National Electricity Market.

“When the ACCC looked at the issue we were able to provide them with examples of export markets lost; electricity bills for irrigation pumping that had doubled; and even one entire irrigation system in Queensland that will shut down if the price trajectory is not changed.

“Electricity prices are a disaster for Australian competitiveness and for job creating export industries like agriculture.

“The Ag Energy Taskforce has consistently called for change to the way the electricity ‘market’ operates and to address the excessive profits being made by network companies.

“We want to see a maximum price of 16 cents per kw/h.

“NIC had the opportunity to meet the Energy Minister, Angus Taylor earlier this week and we were very pleased by his depth of knowledge and obvious commitment to getting something done – borne out in today’s announcement.

“Last week Shadow Minister Mark Butler also talked with NIC members and it was clear the Opposition also supported real action to implement the ACCC recommendations.

“We strongly support the recommendations made by the ACCC and welcome today’s announcements by the Government. These are positive steps that now need to be followed by action by the AER and State Governments to tackle unjustified profits being made by network owners.”

Media Contact: Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Tuesday 23 October 2018