ENERGY MINISTER’S “OFFENSIVE COMMENTS” SHOCK S.A. REMOTE AREA TRADERS

Adam Plate pictured at the Oodnadatta power station, said he found Minister Michael O'Brien's comments highly offensive

Adam Plate of Oodnadatta Traders (Pink Roadhouse Oodnadatta), a general outback business employing up to 12 people, this week expressed dismay at the electricity price rises which he said will be “much greater than suggested”. 

Adam Plate said he heard Energy Minister Hon Michael O’Brien on radio suggesting that living in the outback was ‘lifestyle choice’, “which implied to me that if we didn’t like it we could pack up and leave”,  he said.

In a comment, defensive of his new Remote Areas electricty tax regime, Michael O’Brien told ABC radio on Thursday 10 March, “There is an element of personal choice in all of this. Some people have made a decision that they’re going to set up businesses in Coober Pedy or they’re going to live in Coober Pedy, and there are costs associated,” he said.

“The State Government is subsidising their decision to operate businesses to the tune of $5.5 million a year.

“When all said and done, if there wasn’t a subsidy they would be having to find an additional $5.5 million. The taxpayers of South Australia are effectively underwriting the cost of running their businesses.”

I found that comment highly offensive and suggest Mr. O’Brien wouldn’t have the courage to make that comment about his city constituents”, Mr. Plate said.

Mr. Plate said the energy audits suggested by DTEI’s Vince Duffy would be pointless considering the costs of re-equipping premises in unicorporated areas would be prohibitive as banks refuse to extend overdrafts in areas where land values are low or unknown.

Adam Plate further stated, “Oodnadatta has never been offered a Renewable Remote Power Generation program!”

“Facilities in Outback SA are declining, – they are Third World”, said Adam Plate. “We flounder in dust and mud while our tax contribution helps Adelaide, the City State, get new tram lines.”

“Outback operators are being ground into the dirt by this Government with its lack of Council-style infrastructure, no potable water, inefficient road maintenance: and unreliable power supply with no local linesmen plus poor maintenance.”

“We suffer 6 or more failures a year often waiting 2 days for power to be restored as ETSA wont fly in staff” Mr. Plate said. “Add that to no off-peak power and an upward ranking pricing system and you have huge disincentives to set up businesses that can  employ Aboriginal people and others in remote areas”.

“Tourism in the SA Outback alone  apparently contributes  $250.000.000 to State coffers but SA in particular has no system to return tax dollars earned in the ‘Bush’ back to the Bush, unlike say, Western Australia”, Mr. Plate said. 

6 thoughts on “ENERGY MINISTER’S “OFFENSIVE COMMENTS” SHOCK S.A. REMOTE AREA TRADERS

  1. We heard the engery minister speak on radio and really doubted if he was up to speed on this whole affair. His obvious lack of confidence made us realise that this part of the state is only on a map for him.

    The other insulting part of the ministers conversation is where he referred to the regional people as “them”. This type of reference usually has racist connotations and shows complete ignorance and distance from the subject matter.

  2. Youre not the only one who was shocked Adam. We all are. What is a minister anyway? He needs to do his job and attend to the wants and needs of the constituents and not get bogged down in helping the treasurer balance his books by whacking treasuries deficit onto the regionals. He needs to administer suitable energy to the entire state and not get involved in rounding up what he thinks are stray cows and herding them down to the Adelaide cattle yards. Thats how is sounded to me.

  3. Someone should call for the sacking of O’Brien based on this inept decision and including those comments. Generally the informed residents of Adelaide wouldn’t consider they were subsidising the outback towns. There’s no point hiding behind us when we do it tough dodging the obstacles here of radar and camera pick-pocket devices they install, just to name one claw back scheme. We’d only be welcoming you to hell if you all ended up here.

  4. I wonder if the minister considered consultation would’ve been in order before implementing life-changing decisions on behalf of the family budgets of those living in remote areas. Four weeks notice to adjust to a horific financial burden is scary. Some of us who have illnesses and need to put expenses up front to travel to the city for treatment are already on our limits.. Most of the situations that can arise unexpectedly for remote citizens are not factured into services this government should provide for all citizens in this state.

    If the current government can’t manage the entire state effectively it should consider whether or not it has a place in this administration system at all. Rather than providing suitable services to the state as the ministers porfolio would indicate, Mr. O’Brien is preoccupied with whether or not this governement can even balance it’s books. Surely that’s not his immediate job.

    How much did it cost the tax payers in wages to the premier while he was chasing the waitress around his tax payer funded desk at Parliament house during business hours? The labor party’s productivity losses are not the responsibility of the remote or the Adelaide citizens. When politicians like Mr. O’Brien are seen tinkering with people’s lives to make up some short fall, we need to be concerned about his future and ours if these management alarm bells keep going off.

  5. We are two old pensioners living in Oodnadatta. We agree with local outrage at proposed electricity increases.
    We love living in the outback but need our air conditioners and heaters. We are very worried we will not be able to afford to continue living here.

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