Bowen region growers are set to feel the shock of an electricity price hike.
Bowen region growers are set to feel the shock of an electricity price hike. Max Fleet

Growers' shock over 10.3% power price hike

BOWEN horticultural growers will be feeling the pressure of increased electricity prices, with a proposed price hike of 10.3%.

The proposed increase for irrigators and growers comes after the Queensland Competition Authority handed down its draft determination on regulated electricity prices.

Member for Burdekin Dale Last said the increase of more than 10% would add extra stress and strain to farming families already doing it tough.

"Between the drought and spiralling business costs, a power price slug will deliver a devastating blow to Bowen/Gumlu fruit and vegetable growers and sugarcane farmers across the Burdekin," Mr Last said.

"While our growers are struggling, the silence from the Palaszczuk Labor Government in Brisbane is deafening.

"Labor's Energy Minister Mark Bailey should come up here and talk to our growers, packing shed operators and cane farmers to see the impact of his inaction.

"I have held urgent discussions with Burdekin Canegrower representatives - they are justifiably concerned for the future of their industry, as are our fruit and vegetable growers."

Shadow Energy Minister Andrew Powell said it was unbelievable to see that Labor's Energy Minister had been sitting on his hands when the government had options to relieve this burden on farmers.

"The Queensland Productivity Commission recommended earlier this year that the government should develop an industry assistance arrangement to help farmers transition from the existing regulated tariffs," he said.

"This assistance package would be a lifeline for farmers across the state doing it tough, but the Palaszczuk Labor Government has yet to even respond to the draft QPC recommendations.

"With the shift to new tariffs by 2020, businesses - mainly in the agricultural sector - could face power price increases of up to 50%. The Palaszczuk Labor Government is frozen at the wheel when they have the power to act and help farmers right across the state.

"For 12 months now Premier Palaszczuk has embarked on countless reviews but has refused to make the tough decisions to give hard working Queenslanders a hand up."


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