The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says the writing is on the wall – Victoria’s Labor government is running out of gas and doing nothing but pumping up our already soaring energy bills.
And Mr Walsh says Premier Jacinta Allan could not have picked a worse time to try and wreck the state’s economy as families battle the worsening cost-of-living squeeze.
He says her flawed ‘gas substitution plan’ only reduces choice for Victorians and drives up costs for households and families at a time when they can least afford it.
“From this week gas connections will be banned on new estates in Victoria, or where a planning permit is required, adding to energy bills during a cost-of-living crisis,” Mr Walsh says.
“Labor’s latest rules have already banned appliance rebates, driving up the costs of new appliances for consumers and putting Victorian industry and jobs at risk,” he says.
“At the same time more than 330,000 concession card holders have also been hit hard through the abolition of long-standing schemes which supported many of our most vulnerable Victorians.
“More than 250,0000 Victorian households which receive the property charge concession, the controlled-load electricity concession and the electricity transfer waiver, have begun to be notified these concessions will soon be discontinued.
“These concessions have been cut as Labor’s record debt races towards $200 billion in the next few years.”
Mr Walsh says despite electricity costs surging more than 25 per cent in the past 12 months, “Jacinta Allan’s Labor government has refused to acknowledge it has got the energy issue desperately wrong”.
He says in addition to families being hit hard, the final report released by Energy Consumers Victoria and Alviss Consulting shows Victorian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been hit hard under Labor’s misguided energy programs.
Analysis of small business retail energy bills across the country show a national rise of 8 per cent for those using 20,000kWh annually – but in Victoria it is a staggering 17 per cent.
“Meanwhile gas bills were, on average, 12 per cent higher across Australia for businesses consuming 100GJ – but in Victoria it is way more than double that at an eye-watering 31 per cent,” Mr Walsh added.
“This independent analysis shows clearly electricity and gas bills for small businesses have surged over the last year under Labor – and it is the consumer, that current victim of the cost price squeeze, who will be paying more for all goods and services because of this utopian pipedream that alternative energy sources are the solution,” he says.
“We have offered numerous ways to ease the burden on households but nothing seems able to penetrate the ideological blinkers blinding Jacinta Allan and Co and let them see the reality of the latest damning findings which prove Victorian businesses are being squeezed on energy costs like a boa constrictor, are facing increasing taxes and increasing Workcover charges under Victorian Labor.
“And everyone – business and private households – are being belted by soaring electricity and gas bills under Victorian Labor.”