December 18, 2017

Premier must call unions to heel over record power prices

Shadow Energy Minister Dean Nalder has called on Premier Mark McGowan to explain why Western Australian families are set to pay the highest electricity prices in the country.

Western Australia is forecast to become the most expensive state in Australia for electricity, according to a report released today by the Australian Energy Market Commission.

“In addition to the 10.9 per cent mums and dads were already hit with this year, the Australian Energy Market Commission has flagged increases of an average 6.3 per cent for each of the next two years,” Mr Nalder said.

“The number of people experiencing financial hardship is already at record levels, these further increases will tip thousands more WA families into hardship.

“The McGowan Government appears to have no energy plan other than to use Synergy as a cash cow to pay for the $5 billion of un-costed, unfunded and unaffordable spending promises it made during the election.”

Mr Nalder said the McGowan Government had caved in to pressure from its union masters and shelved the previous government’s electricity reforms that would have given consumers choice on where they buy their electricity.

“The McGowan Government needs to explain why they are not opening up the electricity market to competition, like the gas market, which is currently enjoying discounts of up to 35 per cent,” Mr Nalder said.

“One reason why costs are going up is the lack of any proper competition to force Synergy to keep its costs down.

“Electricity consumers in this state are paying for excesses such as workers at Synergy on a base salary of $138,877 taking home annual salaries of $380,566 after additional entitlements and allowances.

“It’s not difficult to see why the Australian Services Union Wayne Wood has ruled out any form of increased competition in the sector.

“The Premier needs to stare down the unions and stand up for WA electricity consumers.”

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