Here we Joh again! Power asset fire-sale to slam Queenslanders

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Massive rises in transport fares forecast by Energy Minister Mark McArdle are set to dwarf the electricity bill subsidies being offered to householders by the Newman Government.

Commuters from the outer Brisbane suburbs could be faced with extra fares of up to $850 a year as a result of the Queensland Government losing its income stream from power companies.

That was the warning issued by Mr McArdle earlier this year when talking about the loss of dividends from the power industry.

And transport users throughout the State also risk what Mr McArdle called

“… massive price rises.”

The Queensland Government will privatise its electricity assets for about $28 billion and lose its income from them of about $50 billion over the next 50 years based on today’s values.

That’s a loss of $22 billion to the public purse which we will have to make up for in increased taxes, fares and other payments.

The Newman Government’s plan to bribe Queenslanders into voting for it at the next election involves offering some about $115 a year per household from a fund of $3.4 billion created as a result of the sell-off.

But that’s peanuts compared with the income the Government receives in dividends from the power companies — $966 million this year. The loss of this income stream works out to the equivalent of about $800 per home every year, based on census figures of 1.2 million Queensland homes.

So in exchange for some households receiving about $115 a year, Queenslanders will be faced with paying a sum that works out to the equivalent of about $800 per home each year.

Mr McArdle gave this example on 13 February on radio station 4BC:

"If we…try to quarantine the dividends from energy it means public transport subsidies are going to fall away and ratchet up massive price rises in relation to public transport. For example, if we hadn’t lowered the cost of transport to travel from Redcliffe to Brisbane the increase cost would be $850 per annum."

In annual reports for 2014, Ergon Energy reported dividends payable to the Government of $392 million (page 4), Energex $406 million (page 3) and Powerlink $168 million (page 11) — a total of $966 million.

Last Sunday (12/10/14), Premier Newman announced the plan to subsidise power prices for “typical” homes without solar power by $577 over five years — which works out to about $115 a year.

About 277,000 homes with solar power installed will not receive a share of the $3.4 billion raised from the sale of their assets. But the $115 will go to the wealthiest householders as well as the poorest.

The Electrical Trades Union says a report by Orion Consulting Network shows

‘… the Government could reduce skyrocketing power prices by more than $310 per year with the stroke of a pen without selling off the family silver.’

It says the report, which it commissioned in February this year, also shows that

‘… the Government could directly fund the cost of the solar feed in tariff from the dividends provided by the GOCs to general revenue rather than allowing the cost to be shared by all consumers. This alone would reduce power bills for every Queensland household by $143 in 2015.’

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