“GOVERNMENT ADVERTISES OUTBACK HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS THAT TRAVELERS CAN’T AFFORD” SAYS BUSINESS OWNER

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.

*When will it end?  *Where is the justice? *Where is the humanity?
There are so many questions yet still no answers.

How on earth can the Government justify to those of us who live in remote areas such as Coober Pedy, 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 a cut in subsidy is the best solution the State Government could come up with to repair the destruction that they have created with their inconceivable spending habits.

It appears the government has an open cheque book around election time and is constantly having to keep meek promises to maintain its profile. However when it comes time to disguise its obvious spending inaccuracies it looks to smaller communities and doubles their cost of living.

This is the most ridiculous State Government decision that I have witnessed in my life. Why should we be left 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. As it stands we will have no option but to pass on this utility cost increase onto our customers.

HOWEVER:  What will the outback traveler think when they stop and fill up with fuel at a PREMIUM COST?
 
What will the outback tourist think when they book their accommodation at a PREMIUM COST?
 
What will they think when they need to purchase food at a PREMIUM COST?
 
Our country knows how to spend millions of dollars on flashy advertising campaigns to lure tourists to our shores and to “the Great Outback of Australia” yet is any thought given on how much the average traveler will need to budget to travel through the outback?

Correct me if I’m wrong but I wouldn’t be surprised if the finger is pointed to business owners as trying to take advantage of tourists or outback commuters.

As a local business owner how could I possibly justify an overnight price increase to my customers without a backlash??
 
Word will spread like the plague that travelling through the outback is far too expensive and it will cripple our businesses and our community.

Has this happened anywhere in the world? Surely not? They 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 the equivalent staffing cost of two employees per year!!!

You cannot expect to fix a mistake with another mistake unless you’re insane.

This is yet another error that I believe will backfire and create more job losses and prevent us from employing that extra help that we need in the outback.

Our community deserves the truth. If the Government wants residents out of Coober Pedy, and the other 12 communities affected we ask you to tell us the truth and stop this constant bullying.

Many families have already moved away from Coober Pedy and this will undoubtedly influence many more to do the same. Who in their right mind would want to move their families and start up a new business in a town where the cost of living has nearly doubled? 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 insolvency or even bankruptcy.

The State Government should not underestimate the harsh reality that we face as a result of their actions. As the “heartbeat” of the outback we should be relying on our government to assist us and not plot our demise.

I am honestly still in shock and in disbelief that this is real and is happening.

Bundi Pantelis
Caltex Coober Pedy

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