Energy

Skyrocketing energy costs hurting farmers, country businesses

Wednesday 27 September 2017

 

The Peddles have a difficult decision to make.

The South Gippsland dairy farmers employ eleven people on their Yarram property and for up to six months every year they irrigate – at a cost of more than $1000 per day in energy costs, totalling up to $150,000 in a dry year.

They’re facing a 150 per cent increase in their electricity costs when their current energy contract expires. It would more than double their daily irrigating costs.

Greg Peddle says their only choice is to absorb the increase, but he doesn’t know how.

The Peddles aren’t alone.

Kyvalley Dairy, near Kyabram, has had a 50 per cent increase in electricity costs. Processors, like Murray Goulburn, have experienced price rises well above 50 per cent this year and expect similar again in the year ahead. In Traralgon, power bills for one milk bar jumped from $900 to $1400 this year.

Regional businesses are bleeding cash – just to keep the lights on.

State-funded country hospitals are also feeling the pinch.

Hamilton’s Western District Health Service’s bills increase $360,000 this year. Seymour Health’s power and gas prices will soar $190,000 in 2017-18. At Horsham, Wimmera Health Care Group’s electricity costs increased by more than $500,000 in 2017.

Hospital auxiliary cake sales won’t cover these soaring prices.

The Andrews Government won’t commit to funding the increase, leaving country hospitals with serious concerns about the impact these soaring costs will have on services.

After failing to stop Hazelwood’s closure – and the loss of 750 jobs and 22 per cent of Victoria’s electricity supply – Daniel Andrews is desperate to handball his mess to the Commonwealth.

Unlike Labor, the Victorian Nationals understand Victoria needs a secure baseload power supply.

Recently The Nationals’ Federal Conference debated energy and agreed to investigate ways to secure Victoria and Australia’s energy future.

The Nationals here in Victoria have announced a commitment to work on the right policy settings and investment conditions to support building a High Efficiency, Low Emissions (HELE) power plant in the Latrobe Valley.

An elected Liberal-Nationals government has committed to securing baseload power at Yallourn and Loy Yang power stations, keeping the lights on and securing local jobs. Labor’s go-it-alone VRET would be scrapped and instead we would support a national transition to cleaner energy.

And we won’t put ideology ahead of energy affordability and security.

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