The release of the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) final determination on 2022-23 regulated retail electricity prices for Queensland has raised concern for farmers and regional communities and rightly so.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) CEO Jo Sheppard said, “Rising wholesale electricity and gas prices are adding to the long list of escalating input costs for farmers.”
“We have made no allowances in this state for the development of a secure, affordable domestic market. Gas is our country’s natural resource and yet Queensland is at the mercy of high international prices for coal and gas which will likely remain high over the foreseeable future.”
“It is disappointing that the final determination does not offer relief for highly seasonal farming businesses that need greater flexibility with tariffs that better match the seasonality of energy use. The substantial increases announced in both small and large business tariffs are also concerning for farmers across Queensland.”
“Farmers need equitable pricing, with affordable tariffs being the main driver of sustainable business. An affordable tariff is one that has a ceiling of 8cents/kwh for the retail (R) component and a ceiling of 8c/kwh for the network (N) component. “
Providing affordable tariffs, with competitive pricing will allow for stability and future growth for farm businesses who are currently unable to plan more than a year ahead of time, due to instability across the electricity network framework.
“It is critical that the government implement long-term, sustainable and cost-reflective tariff structures for agriculture and irrigation to support the future viability of Queensland farmers.”
“Securing energy supply is essential but it is also important to continue energy efficiency initiatives like QFF’s Energy Savers Program, to support farmers to achieve increased energy productivity on farm.”
“We need to work together to address both supply and demand in relation to the energy crisis, including fast tracking the development of large-scale renewables and transmission, however, assistance will also be needed to ensure business continuity and viability in the short term.
QFF will continue to work with all levels of government, industry and community stakeholders to find affordable electricity solutions and price certainty, the future of farming and regional Queensland depends upon it.