Paying the dividends forward to benefit all Queenslanders

Published Saturday, 30 September, 2017 at 08:00 AM

Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark Bailey

The Palaszczuk Government is leveraging ownership of its power and water assets to pay forward over two billion dollars’ worth of dividends to stabilise electricity prices and strengthen our water security to benefit all Queenslanders.

Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, Mark Bailey said keeping power and water assets in government hands means $1.5 billion in dividends received in 2016-17, and $1.3 billion from 2017-18, from businesses had been earmarked to be paid forward.

“As part of our community service obligations, $667 million has been invested to further stabilise power and water prices across regional Queensland,” he said.

“That means regional Queenslanders, on average, have received a subsidy on their electricity bills worth $790 per year.

“For the most vulnerable electricity and water customers in our community $209 million is being invested for concessions, rebates and assistance programs.”

Mr Bailey said $1.16 billion alone had been invested in the Powering Queensland Plan which would provide electricity bill relief and supporting concessions, rebates and assistance programs to help vulnerable electricity and water customers.

“To help drive down energy costs and provide immediate relief the Government is utilising the policy levers at its disposal by investing $771 million to slash the increase by more than half down to 3.3 per cent,” he said.

“Our intervention using dividends received from public ownership of power assets means that our 3.3% increase was the lowest increase in retail prices of any mainland State in the National Electricity Market, with other states seeing increases ranging from 9% to almost 20%.”

“This would have been impossible if the previous Newman-Nicholls led LNP government had of been able to continue with their ideologically obsessed privatisation agenda.

Mr Bailey said recent price increases across the country were driven by a failure of the National Electricity Market.

“A lack of federal leadership on climate and energy policy under Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull has also created uncertainty for investors which has prevented new supply coming online, driving up prices,” he said.

Mr Bailey said $386 million had also been set aside to strengthen and diversify power and water assets in North Queensland.

“Pending a feasibility study, we will be investing $150 million to establish a Clean Energy Hub to develop strategic transmission infrastructure in North and North-west Queensland to potentially connect multi-faceted renewable projects,” he said.

“We are pumping $100 million into the improvement of works at the Burdekin Falls Dam and another $100 million to help fund a hydro facility at the dam subject to a business case.

“This investment of dividends is part of Queensland’s Powering Queensland Plan to drive down energy and water costs by addressing the significant challenges relating to reliable and secure electricity and water supply.

“We also have the lowest wholesale electricity price of any state in the National Electricity Market averaged over this financial year.

“The Palaszczuk Government will continue to use public ownership of energy assets to back Queenslanders and put downward pressure on energy bills”

Media contact, Dominic Geiger, 0447355565