Letter to Senator Nick Xenaphon from Yanni Athanasiadis of Umoona Opal Mine and Museum re: the short sighted decision of SA Government and Energy minister to impose $1.3m electricity tariff on Outback towns in SA
Dear Nick, Many Regards.
Coober Pedy once again is calling for your help. We are in a devastating situation at the moment with 13 small outback towns that are not on the state electricity grid.
The SA Govt and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Energy have decided to cut our electricity subsidy by $1.3m. It is not alot of money in a budget where the same minister is going to spend $250m on roads infrastructure.
For us this means all commercial users from shops to small hotels and tourist attractions will have an increase in their electricity bills from about 80% to 123%. It will destroy business and jobs in Coober Pedy and the remote outback regions.
Our water desalination plant will spend approximately $185K extra in electricity costs with these costs will be passed onto all businesses and residents of the region. All businesses supplying goods and services in the region will have to pass on the added expense of the electricity tariffs to the consumers. This includes supermarkets, tourist operators, council costs etc.
Everyday expenses will increase immeasurably due to this decision. Not only will this effect the businesses and residents, it will also effect the tourists visiting the outback.
Coober Pedy and the outback region will be very expensive and all those employed in the tourism industry will be at risk of losing their jobs.
Minister O’Brien said on ABC radio that people in Adelaide should not have subsidise the outback for their electricity costs to the tune of $1.3m.
The Govt provide the metropolitan areas with the infrastructure such as roads, buses, trams, parks and playgrounds, bicycle lanes on roads etc, etc.
The outback regions do not have such extensive infrastructure and we receive a lousy $1.3m subsidy for something that is an essential service such as electricity and even with the current subsidy we pay about 20% more than Adelaide. Added to this, we don’t have a choice who we buy electricity from – there is only one supplier.
Minister O’Brien and the SA Govt have a very short vision. Coober Pedy has been one of SA’s main tourist destinations with a lot of support from the South Australian Tourist Commission. How could one minister not communicate with the other?
We need something to be done, we need you and are asking for your help.
If you have any questions, please call me on the number below.
Umoona Opal Mine & Museum
P.O. Box 372
COOBER PEDY SA 5723
Ph: 08 86725288
Fax: 08 86725731