Farmers want big picture considered in Queensland energy reform

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has said its looking forward to working with the State Government to deliver affordable electricity prices for farmers and people living in regional and rural Queensland.

QFF’s announcement came after Minister Bailey announced some of the outcomes from last Friday’s COAG Energy Council meeting, including that all jurisdictions will work together to address the National Electricity Market (NEM) issues and the Queensland Government will push ahead with its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

QFF CEO Travis Tobin said industry was looking forward to the government providing a clearer picture on the wider strategic plan for Queensland’s future energy mix and how this fits with broader energy supply and pricing tariffs reforms in regional and rural areas.

“Queensland irrigators and farmers cannot continue to sustain significant yearly electricity price increases. Tariffs for irrigators have risen by 120 per cent since July 1, 2007 representing almost a decade of double-digit price increases,” he said.

“The government has a lot of moving parts related to energy market reforms at the moment. It is difficult to see a coherent position for agriculture between the various initiatives such as electricity tariffs reforms, biofutures, biofuels, climate change, innovation and science.

“QFF appreciates the scale and speed of energy transformation that is under way in Queensland. It is an understandable challenge for government to manage a system that is being disrupted by new technologies while simultaneously trying to protect its significant revenue and public investment.”

If the initiatives coming out of five different portfolios are not complementary, Mr Tobin said their benefit to the intensive agricultural industries will be limited.