The COAG Energy Council must act to achieve price reductions across the energy market and ensure the reliability and security of the system, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said: “Federal, state and territory leaders have a responsibility to put politics aside. Energy ministers must focus on households and businesses who are the ones paying for Australia’s energy policy mess.
“Already, we are seeing energy ministers lining up reasons to blame each other for a failure to agree on actions to fix our energy crisis. Businesses and households are not interested in the blame game on prices, they want to see the problems fixed.
“In many states, households were hit with significant price rises on 1 July. Many smaller businesses also buy their energy from retail providers, and have been hit with bigger price rises – up to 20 per cent – from the start of this month.
“The situation can be even tougher for businesses buying energy on the wholesale market. When their energy contracts are due for renewal some are finding few providers willing to supply to them, and when they do, the price hike is staggering.
“This problem is being felt by businesses across Australia. It means businesses are turning off the investment tap – they are putting off equipment upgrades and delaying expansions because of these price rises.
“That means jobs are at risk.
“We need business to invest and create more good stable jobs – but instead they are worrying about paying exorbitant power bills.
“Ministers have a clear set of proposals in front of them. Australian households and business operators are relying on them to stop the blame game and sort things out. We need outcomes that will deliver cheaper and more secure electricity while lowering emissions and meeting our Paris targets.”