The Growing Challenge for Gladstone and its Industries

Since my last article, the issue of electricity has dominated the conversation both locally and Federally. 

It is fast becoming one of the leading election issues, a focal point for the Federal Government and a hot topic for the State Government.

Last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the National Press Club using the opportunity to call on all tiers of Government to co-operate on achieving affordable, reliable and secure electricity for Australia now and into the future. The Prime Minister said energy policy needs to be a priority as higher electricity prices, low stability and lack of security hurt big business, household budgets and economic growth.

In Gladstone, significant price escalations over the last six years have put pressure on major Industry players who consume a significant amount of Queensland’s electricity, including its largest single contestable load.

Since 2011 the average dollars-per-megawatt-hour for electricity has increased by almost $30 and prices continue to increase.

This is not sustainable and recent events have illustrated that continual price climbs are not helping Gladstone’s Industry or its community. A continuation of the trend in the electricity market will have further significant impacts in Gladstone.

This is not an issue for political jousting but rather an area of importance that requires all tiers of Government to work in a collegiate fashion to ensure that we have a workable long-term plan for Australia. The State and Federal Government must look at reforming both its current policies and agendas to ensure we remain a stable and strong economy now and into the future.

Reform from both a Federal and State perspective needs to reflect a long-term reliable energy policy that fosters a competitive environment internationally, something we were renowned for in the past. This needs to recognise the importance of growing renewables in our energy mix whilst ensuring energy affordability, stability and security.

This is an issue that State and Federal policy makers must get right for the future of our economy. It is an area requiring urgent attention and should not be delayed as it is significantly affecting heavy Industry and the communities in which they operate.