COOBER PEDY News & Events


SA govt squeeze outback towns for $1.3m extra taxes but procrastinate over collecting $200m in unpaid fines elsewhere

Letter to Editor by: Richard Abbott a licenced land surveyor from Adelaide who visits Coober Pedy regularly.

Dear Media Editors,

Could you please bring this power charge surge crisis to Adelaide readers as Adelaideans may soon get a rude shock to find that they were left in the dark over this ruthless government’s shocking power policy imposed on remote Coober Pedy?

Electricity price for Coober Pedy businesses set to rise by up to 123% and to be 154%  dearer than equivalent Adelaide businesses from 1 MAY 2011.

While Coober Pedy is a long way from many city editorial offices, there are those much nearer on North Terrace who are entrenched in power and purveyors of savage budget cuts who have caused a monumental  tidal wave of dissatisfaction 850 ks a way in the remote desert lands at Coober Pedy -Where Rann’s mob hope that the squeals of outrage will not reach the once “City of Churches”, or a more appropriate phrase, the “city of  budget cuts”.

It seems like a small $1.3 million has been sliced from around $5.5 mil required allocation from the electricity power generation for remote areas  The propaganda suggests small medium domestic users will see a charge that will only be 10% above those on the state power grid regulated prices.

The KICKER IS that government have recently announced that they now want full cost recovery from commercial customers, starting MAY 1.  That will see immediate price increases. For small retail shops 14%, food shops 43% and accommodation premises from 60% to 123% As the town’s water is all derived  from the Coober Pedy desalination plant the cost to council for town water production will rise by estimates of 25% as their power price will increase by 118%.

WHEN the PROPOSED ELECTRICITY PRICE IS COMPARED TO THEIR ADELAIDE COUSINS – The cost for a Medium commercial business, like an accommodation house the will be 154% DEARER and for a small commercial retail shop 47% DEARER!!!

The Minister, Michael O’Brien said in an interview on ABC regional at 5.10 pm today (Thursday 10th) that government could not subsidise remote country business electricity power.

I say that the government would have negotiated a royalty windfall from all the new and proposed mining developments in the Coober Pedy region that will financially benefit the ENTIRE STATE.

That being the case, then surely a piddly $1 million could be injected into Coober Pedy businesses, as after all it is these pioneering battlers that are paying their small part in the outback’s development. 

It is utterly amazing that the Rann’s mismanaging government can let $200 million in unpaid fines literally float away!  Spend money on subsidising and expanding public transport and the proposed  millions on the Adelaide Oval redevelopment that Coober Pedy residents will not get any benefit or use!

That all aside….. How are small remote country businesses already reeling from the GFC now supposed to survive with hefty power cost increases like this? 

It can only mean job loss and higher food and accommodation costs for locals and visitors.

The Minister bragged in his ABC interview that he once was in small business, however the interviewer did not think to ask him how he would have coped with an overnight increased electricity charge of 123% !

At least the last person leaving Coober Pedy will not have to turn off the light!

Yours etc
Richard Abbott
288a Halifax St,
Adelaide, SA, 5000
0427 006577   

Enroute to Coober Pedy on 10 March, Richard Abbott Surveyor, heard ABC radio interviewer Annette Marner speaking with Manager of the Opal Inn Group Robert Coro and Michael O’Brien MP about the shock increase in electricity tarriffs imposed on the businesses of Coober Pedy and other outback towns.  ($200 million in unpaid fines not yet collected & SA government can’t afford to maintain the state!)

Richard was so incensed that he promptly sent the attached letter to his media contacts in Adelaide. 

Richard Abbott has kindly allowed the Coober Pedy Regional Times to reprint the letter he sent to Adelaide media outlets.