COOBER PEDY News & Events


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
South Australia

5 replies »

  1. Premier Rann and Minister O’Brien

    It is with much dismay that for perhaps the first time in 30 or 40 years I am watching an outpouring of genuine anger throughout much of the outback.

    The suprise electricity price increases for off grid consumers is the final straw in an ongoing battle to gain some equality for the regions where much of the States wealth is produced.

    I note a walking/cycle track from Adelaide to Merino Rocks is costing $12 million while Outback Roads are only set to receive $10.8 million to maintain nearly 10,000 kms of predominately un-sealed roads. This is of course only the tip of the iceberg. Rural and regional South Australia have been watching with horror the expansion of a citicentric attitude based around North Terrace for some years with ever increasing angst that is finally coalescing into full blown anger we now see.

    You, Minister O’Brien have directly and severely impacted the wallets of several thousand residents throughout the outback.
    Judging by support being forwarded from around the State and in particular the Metropolitan area it indicates that this lastest action is highlighting Governments contempt for the voters of South Australia.

    You will be held accountable for your actions. It can only be hoped that it is at the ballot box and not in some other manner.

  2. John Darley now has a copy of Mayor Steve Baines “God help you all.” post to follow up .

    You are not alone as publicizing this situation down here with your city cousins thanks to Leon Byner.

    Time for Coober Pedy businesses to introduce a levy on all state government purchases of food, accommodation , motor vehicle hire, supplying services and product

    Todays latest NEW LEVY is a $15 tax on all South Australian property transaction in the Lands Titles Office. We believe that it it applies to land transfer , mortgages, discharges, liens, easements, survey plans. Another neat way of beating inflation! The LTO is already generating a cash cow for the government coffers as it gets income from stamp duty on property sales, land tax, sale of titles at $18.50 each ( two required when property sold), survey plans around $7 each…..

    Electricity hike, water hike, outback levy and now property transaction levy all with in three weeks…wait there will be more and they will not be three free steak knives !

  3. The State Governments energy minister Mr Michael O’Brien is uncompromising in his statements regarding the effect of his decision to eliminate the subsidy for electrical generation.

    The reality of his decision on towns such as Coober Pedy will be dramatic. For many residents and businesses it may mean either stay or go, or even solvency or bankruptcy.

    But Mr O’Brien and the State Government have no concerns, they are trying to cut state spending and the residents of the outback are few in voting numbers, and are not in Mr O’Brien’s electorate.

    In most other states in the Commonwealth of Australia, a town the size of Coober Pedy would have been connected to the national grid a long time ago, but successive South Australian Governments have failed to spend its tax payers money on permanent fixtures. Instead they have spent our money on projects they thought were important such as trade offices in remote parts of Italy, and media consultants.

    We can either lie back and accept these dramatic cuts to our non-luxurious lifestyles or we can fight it by demanding some action from our elected representatives.

    Our representative for Stuart Mr Dan Van Holst-Pellekaan, has made an excellent speech on behalf of his electorate in Parliament. While this is what we elected him to do, very few politicians are as supportive as he has shown. He also spoke on behalf of all the outback not just his area of Stuart.

    We should be supporting Mr Holst-Pellekaan in any way we can, and we should be demanding some serious action from our other elected Members of Parliament.

    Has anybody heard the representative of Giles, make any statements condemning what this decision will mean to the residents of various towns in her electorate.

    And have we heard from the federal member for Grey, about what this will mean to his constituents.

    We should remember at next elections who tried to help us and who did not.

    Let our representatives find out why it was so important that the State Government has to do this to us.

    Perhaps there were some urgent programs that needed money. Such as another study on possible costs blowout on the Adelaide Oval construction, or perhaps our social inclusion Minister (appointed), Monsignore Cappo, needed another taxpayer holiday in Italy.

    Tayifa Porini

  4. Where is the logic???
    The people involved that we the tax payers employ are obviously out of their minds!!! It is up to us to make ourselves heard and allow the rest of the State and even Australia know what is happening to us, so it won’t happen to them. Where will it end? Where is the justice? Where is the humanity? There are so many questions, yet still no answers.
    How else on Gods Earth can they the Government justify, to us the people, who live in remote areas such as Coober Pedy who are entitled to an electricity subsidy, to survive such an increase in utility costs with such short notice? Why is it that the residents who live in Darwin or Tenant Creek pay the same electricity rate as each other? Because it’s fair and that’s the way it should be, right? So why should it be different here? I am absolutely disgusted and outraged that this is the best that the State Government can do to repair the destruction that they have created with their unthinkable spending habits.
    Yeah sure no worries just give out money here there and everywhere and expect that this will drive the economy, obviously that didn’t work, so what do they do now? Look to the smaller out of the way communities that are far from their offices and media and just double the cost of their living. This is the most ridiculous State Government decision that I have witnessed in my life.
    Why should we be left out to suffer?
    My biggest concern as a resident and business owner of Coober Pedy is what this will do to our town’s tourist trade, and ultimately our livelihood. What will the traveler think when they stop and fill up with fuel that will increase? What will they think when they book their accommodation that will increase? What will they think when they need to purchase food that will increase? How much extra will the traveler need to budget to get through the outback? Correct me if I’m wrong but the traveler will most likely be thinking that we are ripping them off. The customer doesn’t want to hear about our problems such as it’s the State Government fault that we have to increase our prices basically overnight to survive. The word will get out like a domino effect that it’s not worth going through the outback, as it’s too expensive to do so.
    Has this happened anywhere in the World? How can it? The People won’t allow it and why should we?
    At the moment our electricity bill is around $5000-$6000 per month to run our family business, Caltex Roadhouse in Coober Pedy. We have estimated that with the new increase it will now jump up to around $10,000-$11,000 per month. That’s in increase of around 95%. How is this even legal? I understand that the cost of fuel has increased. I understand that adjustment must be made, but come on at least be realistic. An extra $60,000-$70,000 a year! That’s equivalent to employing an extra two employee’s a year.
    You cannot unless you’re insane expect to fix a mistake with another mistake.
    This is another mistake that I believe will backfire and create more job losses and prevent us from employing that extra help that we need in the outback.
    Please just tell us the truth as we cannot take these lies any more. If the Government want us out of Coober Pedy, and the other 12 communities affected. I ask you to tell us the truth and stop this constant pushing. Many families have already moved away from Coober Pedy and this I’m sure will influence many more to do the same. Who will want to move their families and start up a new business in town now? And why would they?
    The reality of this decision will be so dramatic for many residents and businesses, that it may push many to go, or those who have invested their lives and money here to solvency or even bankruptcy.
    The State Government really needs to look out for us, the people of the outback otherwise we will be knocking on their door looking for work in order to survive.
    I am honestly still in shock and in disbelief that this is real and is happening.
    Bundi Pantelis

  5. Did you get your 2 mil off them? This government is an administration hungry for power and taxpayers money. Pity we don’t know the rules of this warped cat and mouse game!

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