ETU media release on EY privatisation report

The Electrical Trades Union came out swinging today accusing Treasurer Tim Nicholls of deliberately misleading Queenslanders over power prices after privatisation.

ETU National Policy Officer Lance McCallum said the Treasurer was relying on a misleading measure contained in a report by Ernst and Young, a company with an extreme vested interest in talking up asset sales.

“Firstly the Treasurer does not compare apples with apples – they are deliberately relying on only the network costs rather than the overall residential retail price, which provides a far more comprehensive picture and is recognised and reported by 99% of industry analysts”

McCallum said report after report has found that the two states that have fully privatised their networks have higher retail prices (the amount people pay) than Queensland.

“When using the recognised measure of residential retail prices it can be clearly argued that South Australian and Victorian prices have continued to rise despite the supposed benefits of privatisation. In SA where the network has been privatised through long term leasing arrangements (similar to those being contemplated by the LNP in Qld) residential retail prices are the highest in Australia, 20% greater than Queensland.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-01/network-costs-and-confusing-fees-add-to-power-bill-pain/5780174

McCallum said the ETU remained concerned that the proposed privatisation of Queensland’s electricity; generation, transmission and distribution assets will lead to higher costs to residential users, citing a recent report showing South Australian power consumers pay close to $400 more than east coast states. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-power-bills-almost-400-higher-than-eastern-states/story-fni6uo1m 1227134149266?nk=ea1903b34f3e6ccbf7af2aceeaa01421

McCallum said that the deliberate cherry picking by the LNP on network pricing was clearly aimed at grabbing a headline and misleading the public rather than actually sharing facts.

“Mr Nicholls knows full well that the physical span of different networks is the single largest factor behind variations in both operational and capital expenditure and he would, or should, be aware that numerous analyses have shown that public networks are on a par or outperform private networks on operational costs”

“Apart from delivering higher prices, privatisation also lowers service. Lack of maintenance on the private Victorian grid contributed to 5 of the 11 bushfires that killed more than 100 people back in 2009, resulting in a class action by victims and communities, which settled last year for $500,000,000, so much for private sector efficiencies”

“If the Ernst and Young report is the supposed to be the LNP’s smoking gun, then Treasurer Nicholls has misfired, the report does not reflect the reality or the facts relating to electricity privatisation and instead it just shows the Queensland people that the Strong choices plan and the LNPs privatisation ads were written and authorised by big business – at the expense of ordinary Queenslanders”

“We make no apologies for asking Queenslanders to Put the LNP Last on January 31” Get the facts about electricity privatisation http://www.not4sale.org.au/get-facts For more information contact Lance McCallum 0404 873 320 or Andrew Irvine 0448 633 858