In a letter received from Minister O’Brien yesterday regarding the Remote Areas Energy Supplies (RAES), he states the following reasons for implenting a $1.3 million tax on 13 remote communities in the Far North —
“Unfortunately, given the difficult state budget position, the tariff increases will have to be implemented to cover the increased costs of supplying electricity, including increased payments to the independent operators such as Coober Pedy District Council”.
The increased costs are associated with the increase in the price of fuel and CPI. Does the Minister or treasury not factor this into their budgets like everyone else?
The minister goes on to say “As you are aware the government has provided significant resources for prior period reconciliation payments to the independent operators based upon the principles set out in the finalised agreements, with Coober Pedy Council expected to receive in excess of $2 million once the agreements are signed”.
The Minister refers to a draft deed of agreement that we are being forced to sign that ties us into this ridiculous electricity subsidy scheme for the next 10 years.
The $2 million is money that Council has expended from it’s own cash reserves because of a shortfall in subsidy funding and has been trying to claw back for the past five years.
DTEI have been blackmailing and bullying Council with this payment stating that we will not receive it until this agreement is signed, yet they agree that it is money owed to Council.
When I met with Minister O’Brien on the 17th March he stated that he has given instructions to release $2 million owed to Council from prior reconciliation payments immediately, he is now using these funds to blackmail Council once again.
If this Rann government is allowed to continue to financially rape and dismember the regional and remote areas of the state by bankrupting us, ruining our forests and fisheries, and applying levies and taxes wherever and whenever it likes, it will eventually turn it’s attention to the rest of the state.
God help you all.
Mayor Steve Baines
District Council Coober Pedy