LEAKED CABINET DOCUMENT REVEALS SA GOVERNMENT DECEIT

Robert Coro, Chairman of the Coober Pedy Retail, Business and Tourism Association is interviewed by Channel 10 on Tuesday in relation to the RAES cuts which will adversely affect all businesses and families in the 13 RAES communities

The leaked Sustainable Budget Commission Report or “Razor Gang Report” reveals that the State Government had full knowledge of the impact the reduction in the RAES subsidy would have on the communities and businesses in remote South Australia…and chose to tell no one!

The State Government knew that this decision would financially strangle businesses and residents in remote communities in (at least) September 2010 and yet they chose to consult with no one until March 2011. Why?

Minister O’Brien and even our Local MP, Lyn Breuer questioned the figures that the District Council of Coober Pedy presented to them in March 2011 claiming that they were incorrect. Yet their own budget report actually put the cost to consumers higher than Council’s estimates!

Following is an extract from Page 131 of the leaked “Razor Gang Report”:

The Remote Areas Energy Supplies (RAES) scheme subsidises the supply of electricity to the residents of 13 remote area towns. Agreements are being negotiated with the independent owners and operators in three of these towns. The cost of these agreements plus other non-fuel operating costs have been included in a separate budget bid and are proposed to be funded by a tariff increase.

This savings measure proposes to increase tariffs further to full cost recovery for all but small to medium domestic customers. The bid states that it is dependent on the approval of two budget bids, which have been submitted under the SBCC Critical and Unavoidable process: increased tariffs to fund non fuel cost pressures; and increased government funding for fuel cost pressures.

Tariffs under the RAES Scheme were last increased on 1 October 2009 by an average of between 9.3% and 10.2% for domestic, commercial and Commonwealth Government customers. This increase was undertaken as a result of on-grid electricity price increases, which the RAES tariffs are linked to.

Estimated impacts of the proposed tariff increases are:
– Small to medium domestic customers – greater than 25% cost increase, with a small number of domestic customers in Coober Pedy paying potential increases of 60% – 70%; and
– Larger domestic, commerical and general purpose customers – 120% to 190% increase within two years.

Razor Gang Report  

Mr. Robert Coro on behalf of businesses said, “discovering this prior knowledge of the impact cutting the RAES subsidy would have on our businesses and towns will only make us fight harder.”

Minister O’Brien, why did the State Government not consult the people of remote South Australia prior to the implementation of the RAES reduction when, despite your claims, your government had full knowledge of the social and economic impact it would have on these communities?

Lyn Breuer, where are you? Your ‘almost silence’ on this catastrophic issue is deafening to your constituents…

28 thoughts on “LEAKED CABINET DOCUMENT REVEALS SA GOVERNMENT DECEIT

  1. These two rough necks really take the cake. Representatives on a humungous chunk of tax payers hard earned dosh swanning around with all expenses paid and lying to their benefactors. Not just lying but trying to cripple them. Shame on both of them.

  2. If the people of Whyalla get a better offer they’ll be taking it – sooner rather than later

  3. I’m sure Michael O’Brien didn’t make the decision to cut the funding to regional towns, but he sure the hell isn’t helping by blaming taxpayers for the continually proven bad track record of Labor party spending unwisely right across the country. They must think money grows on trees or as rumoured have made risky investments and lost. Why don’t they just own up to it and take a pay cut?

  4. Lets face it, Labor are addicted to debt and for trying to recoup it using families in the regions, they should make it to the criminal court. These people have no morals and the sooner they pack their bags the better off this state will be. All people must have access to reliable and affordable electricity.

  5. Why does this look familiar? – ABC. “The Opposition says the South Australian government has been caught out misleading the public over who will pay power bills at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital”.

    Misleading the public on electricity and funding is becoming a passtime of the current South Australian Government.

  6. Actions speak louder than Speaker Lyn Breuer’s roars. After the Breuer’s appointment as Speaker, Whyalla has been forgotten. Lyn Breuer convincingly won the election for the seat of Giles in March on the promise of preventing the industrialisation of the Point Lowly Peninsula.
    We had to ask why Lyn Breuer was silent on the diesel storage issue and lack of an EIS, despite all her election promises. When her Government was approving Stuart Petroleum in January, where was she?
    When Breuer remained silent on the Ammonium nitrate plant, whyalla residents called for her resignation. Breuer had merely said she had some issues with the project but was yet to make up her mind! ONLY AFTER the resignation request did she stage a token “roar”. What a dud we’ve all got.

  7. I wouldn’t let O’Brien off the hook or his cohorts. It takes a certain type of mentality to prey on the vulnerable as this lot have done. Hence our rights to cheap porn being protected.

  8. Let’s face it, they’ve spent our remote taxes on the city and they need more. I agree with Vulnerable.

  9. What has Marree done to deserve this. We don’t have a mining company in the area to use our electricity! Surely we can have our own special blame can’t we? We aren’t anywhere near Coober Pedy or the grid. Nobody has offered us a solar power station or a wind farm. They mustve gambled our money away, so why is it our problem? Take a pay cut!

  10. That’s it Marree Man, they thought no body would notice us. They figure we’re too far away for anyone to think about. There hitting on small communities to help them balance their books before the Liberals get hold of them after the next election. If we have to put our kids on rations then we’ll fight, cos unless they give up of there own accord it’s gunna be a long-hard struggle to the next election.

  11. Remote areas have enough public servants on their payroll. Certain department sent out by the government to gain control over our assets. A bunch of men in suits looking for cagey agreements. Don’t they realise we have to work to pay for politicians wages let alone this new bunch draining our wallets? The RAES funding cut wasn’t opposed by this new bunch either despite we obviously support there wages!! They could easily cut some of this dead wood out and give our RAES money back.

  12. It’s heartening to see that dictatorships are falling all over the world including Australia. The most sickening aspect of this is watching the current government using money earned by the taxpayers to not only pay their own inflated salaries but abuse the hand that feeds them by withholding funds due which will make our communities tick. It’s hardly the taxpayers fault if the administrators can’t manage more than the city of Adelaide without getting their bookwork confused. Most memberships would sack their committees if poor investments are made and the committee becomes unaccountable. This is currently the case with the “big committee” working against the best interests of it’s membership. This govenment is tinkering away at the edges of smaller voting areas in a game that resembles monopoly. Time to wake up and agreed — TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND A PAY CUT to make up the losses YOU incurred. The country areas can’t keep proping up this government so it will look half reasonable to the city folk!

  13. Outback tariff generates anger – Robert Coro

    LIVING in Outback SA has never been cheap. And, in some ways, that’s the way it should be.
    Fresh food, building supplies, daily necessities – all have to be transported many hundreds of kilometres from Adelaide and someone has to pay for that.

    And because we’re a long way from a natural water source we pay $6.17 a kilolitre for our desalinated water compared to Adelaide’s $1.28 a kilolitre. And don’t complain about your council rates in the city. Business premises up here in Coober Pedy pay 88.5c per $100 compared to leafy Norwood’s 27.4c.

    So the people in our region expect to have to part with a few cents extra here or there for living in a remote region.

    That’s the “penalty”, if you like, for choosing to live where we live.

    It’s only when that cost of living threatens to blow out by hundreds of dollars – and in many cases tens of thousands of dollars – that we start to get a little irate.

    That’s what’s going to happen if the Rann Government has its way and goes ahead with a plan to increase the electricity tariff to about 2500 households and businesses in our region.

    Being remote and well away from the electricity grid, we have to generate our own power. This is provided by a bank of generators run by the WA-based enGen and the supply has historically been subsidised by the State Government under the Remote Areas Energy Supplies (RAES) Subsidy Scheme.

    While an increase in tariff had been mooted a few months ago, we had been expecting consultation with the Government regarding any increase. It wasn’t to be.

    Without warning, in February the Coober Pedy District Council was emailed a media release from the State Government Energy Division advising of substantial increases to our electricity tariffs. And some of the increases are beyond belief.

    For starters, under the new tariff arrangement, a family of four people living above ground will have to find an extra $80 a month. But the real hit is being taken by businesses – the local supermarket is facing a 121 per cent increase from $10,828 a month to $23,913 a month and the pizza bar is up for a 60 per cent monthly increase of $1287.

    Our desalination plant is looking down the barrel at a 118 per cent increase and needing to find an additional $19,000 a month. What was I saying about the cost of water? The council’s people estimate it will go to $7.75 a kilolitre.

    These increases will lead to a significant rise in the cost of living for the 13 towns in our region. From this, job losses will follow and many local businesses will go to the wall.

    And when we asked why the increases were so draconian, Energy Minister Michael O’Brien told us that “given the difficult state Budget position, the tariff increases will have to be implemented”. And just to sink the boot in, he added: “You chose to live there!”

    All this because the Rann Government wants to balance its books by clawing back $1.3 million from the people of our region.

    That represents a bunch of new flat-screen televisions for the state’s prisoners or just a five hundredth of the cost of the Adelaide Oval upgrade. What we’d like to know Mr O’Brien is: “Why us?”

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/coro-outback-tariff-generates-anger/story-fn6br25t-1226034290125

  14. This is the most disgusting abuse of power I’ve ever seen. Michael O’Brian and Lynn Breur should apologise to the outback residents. They’ve been caught good and proper.

    Lyn Breur has turned her back on her electorate who asked her for help and she has misled the media who asked her for fair comment. Just who does she think she is?

    Back stabbing politicians cannot be forgiven. Party puppets are no use to an electorate when they run amuck with money taken from the taxpaying electorate and then turn the blame onto the innocent electorate. This is disgusting abuse.

    The South Australian voters, like the NSW voters are fed up with the spin – Lynn. Lets check out the Labour party books and see what this government has done with our money.

    Lets have a reelection NOW. The farmers are fed up, the health workers are fed up, the remote areas are more than fed up and Whyalla is fed up etc etc etc. South Australians are paying for a service they just ain’t getting from the failed and pitiful labour party.

  15. The situation with the Labor party is frightening. Just the budget cuts are a sign of desperation. Noone knows who they will turn on next while they deny financial difficulty. Its a gutless tactic to blame the people for politicians mismanagment and make us pay for them losing our money.

    This government is out of its league trying to handle a small mining boom in the outback and trying to keep up with the Jones’ in the city. Many of those miners are looking to the government for support. Do we have to finance this boom twice as well as the Adelaide oval?
    Don’t withhold affordable electricity from the outback areas – this is cowardly and despotic.

  16. It’s more than reasonable to fight the discrimination, underhandedness and oppression of this no brainer labor government who can’t be so blind as to not know, that each recipient of the hefty tariff must duly pass it on to their consumers – families with children, pensioners, low income earners..

    Most families shop in their local community, therefore the accumulated effect comes from the pockets of the families, who have nobody to pass their loss onto.

    Only a desperately broke government would attempt to mercilessly exploit where it hopes nobody will notice, thus taking their deficit from the pockets of families. Remote communities and businesses do not want to be party to this sly and underhanded tactic.

    When do we get a government in this state (or country) who can operate our finances efficiently and fairly? The Federal Labor Govt scraped and manouvered its way out of a hung parliament, because the landslide away from Labor was so huge.

    The citizens of two states (Vic and NSW) have recently shown their displeasure for the Labor administration and bolted for the Coalition. In the case of NSW it was due to gross displeasure by the voters, sick and tired of mismanagement and spin costing them extra taxes, already collected!

    South Australia also moved away from Labor in the last election, and saw them just scramble over the election line by default, to inflict their special mode of pick-pocketing for a few more years.
    Unless of course we discover they are in fact bankrupt as they obviously can’t pay their remote areas bills, thus resorting to blatant, straight-faced blackmail.

    The Federal Government and the Labor states have always lacked investment skills and practiced extravagant spending. The Rann Government just keeps on borrowing its way out of debt.

    Exactly what is 84% of South Australia (outside of Adelaide) getting in return for their taxes – already paid?

  17. Coober Pedy steps up tariff anger April 14, 2011
    State Editor Greg Kelton – News Ltd

    COOBER Pedy residents and businesses are stepping up a campaign to force the State Government to back down on electricity tariff increases of up to 125 per cent.

    Spokesman Rob Coro said the campaign, which would include newspaper advertisements in regional papers and The Advertiser, would highlight the devastating effect of the energy tariff increases on businesses and families.

    The increases will affect 13 remote towns in the state’s Far North.

    The advertisement says: “Apparently country people’s right to cheap pornography is protected. But fresh food isn’t.”

    They refer to the fact the National Broadband Network will be available to everyone for the same amount regardless of location. “But the State Government believes that electricity is a luxury,” the advertisement says.

    Mr Coro, whose company owns Coober Pedy’s Opal Inn Hotel Motel Caravan Park, said he was facing a monthly tariff increase of more than $15,000. “Local businesses fear for their future,” he said.

    Mr Coro said while average households in the north faced a 10 per cent increase, supermarkets would have to lift prices to cover increases of up to 120 per cent, or an average of $10,000 a month.

    “This is a cost which must be added to the price of bread, milk and meat,” he said. “The only alternative for many businesses will be to lay off staff.”

    Energy Minister Michael O’Brien has asked the energy division of the Transport, Energy and Infrastructure Department to work with the council to explore funding support from other state and federal agencies and to work with businesses to find ways to lower power costs.

    Mr O’Brien has told Parliament SA taxpayers continue to provide $5.5 million a year to subsidise safe and reliable electricity supplies to more than 2600 customers across 13 remote communities.

    He blamed the state’s Budget position for the tariff increases which were foreshadowed last year in the leaked report of the Sustainable Budget Commission.

    State Editor Greg Kelton
    http://m.news.com.au/SA/pg/0/fi709861.htm

  18. Proposed Electricity Tariff Increases a Major Blow for Outback Residents
    Posted on Friday, 8 April, 2011 – Rowan Ramsey MP

    Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has labelled the Rann Government’s decision to slash support for Remote Areas Energy Scheme as reprehensible and totally inconsistent with the manner in which other states treat their isolated communities.

    “Businesses in Coober Pedy, Andamooka, Marree, Oodnadatta and Marla, along with another eight communities, are facing power hikes up to almost 100% and along with recent decisions on funding for country hospitals and lack of support for flood damage throughout regional and remote South Australia is yet another example of the State Government’s Adelaide-only approach to the state,” he said.

    “I have been gathering information on electricity subsidies in other states and find South Australia is totally out of step. In Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia the Government underwrites off-grid power supplies so consumers pay the same statewide. Tasmania has rates within 20% of the general tariff.

    “Already people living in Outback and remote areas pay more for everyday living costs than other South Australians and this increase will add further to the costs of food, fuel and the necessities of life.

    “The Government is prepared to put millions into subsidies power generation in remote aboriginal communities yet will not provide the same assistance to mixed communities like Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta, which have a very significant indigenous populations.

    “While power rates for households are on a graduating scale and will not rise by as much as businesses, most of these people on fixed incomes live in housing which has high heating and cooling costs and few will be able to keep consumption at the lower end of the scale. Additionally all the goods they buy will have the higher costs built into them. It simply makes no sense to treat these communities differently.

    “Coober Pedy, the biggest town affected by this decision, has a number of medium/large businesses and some are facing annual power increases of tens of thousands of dollars.

    “One has reported the increase will be more than one hundred thousand and will have no choice but to pass these costs on to consumers.

    “State Minister O’Brien has defended the decision saying people choose to live in the area, and that is right, but what is the alternative, shut down these communities entirely? It is difficult to believe he has any understanding of the value of the Australian Outback as a tourist destination to the nation. These towns provide the essential services for the industry.

    “I will be making sure this issue is raised in the Federal Parliament as soon as possible and will be pressing State Member Lyn Breuer, as a member of the Government and Speaker in the Parliament to have some influence with her colleagues in this matter and I will do anything I can do to assist her.”

  19. Power price to surge in 13 outback towns: communities not impressed
    By Emma Pedler (Cross Media Reporter)

    The Coober Pedy Council Mayor Steve Bains says it’s unfair to increase electricity prices in remote areas, especially given the huge amount of money the region generated for South Australia last financial year.
    Print Email this Share Permalink Residential electricity prices in 13 isolated South Australian townships will increase by about 18 per cent from today.

    It’s all part of the Remote Areas Energy Supplies (RAES) scheme.

    The Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure says the new tariff is a result of the growing costs of supplying electricity to remote areas and increased grid prices.

    In a press release issued on their website on Friday, February 18th, the DTEI Energy Division Executive Director Vince Duffy, says that the increase in price, “follow increased on-grid prices and increased costs of supplying electricity to customers in remote areas of the state”.

    The release claims that “The RAES scheme subsidises the delivery of safe and releiable electricity supplies to over 2,600 customers across 13 communities in remote areas of the state”.

    But Coober Pedy mayor Steve Baines, says the increase doesn’t make any sense.

    “Given that the Flinders and Far North generated $176 million worth of income just in tourism last financial year, which resulted in $19.5 million worth of GST income to the state, I really can’t see the sense in this decision,” he tells ABC News Journalist Clare Hesketh.

    Mayor Baines says the tariff is likely to drive up the cost of desalinating water with some businesses seeing a rise of 150 per cent on what they’re already paying.

    “One of the largest users of electricity in Coober Pedy is the District Council who runs the desalination plant to supply drinking water to the town and that affect on council is that we would have to raise the price of water by about 20 per cent,” he says.

    Unlike nine of the 13 locations,the RAES online page on the DTEI website explains that Coober Pedy’s electrical infrastructure is owned by the District Council, while Andamooka and Yunta is independently owned and operated and Cockburn is supplied from Broken Hill via the NSW Grid.

    The tariffs can be seen on this DTEI document.

    But DTEI’s Vince Duffy says “Businesses have been offered energy audits and subsidies for changes to their infrastrcuture to improve energy efficiency via the Federal Government funded Renewable Remote Power Generation program administrated by DTEI”.

    He adds that, “holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card or a Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card may be eligible to receive a $150 concession on your energy costs”.

    News Journalist Tim Jeanes reports that the State Opposition says big power hikes in outback areas have set a disturbing precedent.

    Yesterday, residential and commercial electricity prices jumped in 13 towns in the North and West.

    DTEI says the new charges reflect the growing costs of supplying electricity to remote areas and increased grid prices.

    But Opposition energy spokesman Mitch Williams says a user pays system shouldn’t always apply, as country regions can face special circumstances.

    He says it opens the door for other cost hikes.

    “It doesn’t apply if you happen to be a member of the South Australian Cricket Association – the government is quite happy to spend $535 million of taxpayers money to build their extra 12,000 seats there – but it certainly applies if you live outside of metropolitan Adelaide”, he says.

    The opposition energy spokesman adds that a user pays system sets a disturbing precedent.

    “When the government says this is all private benefit and no public benefit well I think there is a huge public benefit in maintaining these communities in the outback of South Australia and these isolated communities aren’t just there for the people that live there – they are there to provide services for a whole range of other issues,” he says.

    The tariff applies to Parachilna, Nundroo, Oodnadatta,Yunta, Glendambo, Marree, Andamooka, Blinman, Cockburn, Mannahill and Marla under the Remote Areas Energy Supplies Scheme.

    http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/03/07/3157354.htm

  20. Outback power bills to double | March 7, 2011
    Weekly Times Now

    POWER bills for key businesses in remote South Australian communities are likely to double from today.

    In a change the businesses say will be “disastrous” for their towns and livelihoods, the State Government’s Energy Department advised two weeks ago of increased electricity tariffs for 13 remote area towns not connected to the state’s electricity grid, Adelaide Now reports.

    Concerns about fairness have limited increases for small and medium residential users to no more than 10 per cent above their city counterparts but larger users now face bills aimed at recouping the full cost of providing the power – in some cases, a hike from $12,700 to $28,300.

    Andamooka Progress Association chairman Peter Allen said residents would not be saved from the jump as general stores, road houses and hotels coped with the new tariffs.

    “The larger users are the ones that supply the bread, the milk, the liquor, the accommodation,” he said.

    “They won’t be able to absorb the cost, so they have to pass it on.

    “Residents will be paying an extra 10 per cent (for their own bills) but also something extra on everything they buy, every day, every week.”

    Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said there was a need for the State Government to cover the rapidly-increasing and volatile price of oil but it had tried to mitigate the impact for remote area users.

    He said the measure was not aimed at raising revenue or cutting the Remote Areas Energy Supply subsidy but was an attempt to cover underestimates from previous years.

    “Any increase in the price of oil reverberates through the broader global economy,” he said.

    “We were aware in making this decision of the likely impact but the ability of government to subsidise any community can only go so far,” he said.

    “There has to be a reasonable reflection of the cost of electricity generation which in turn reflects the cost of oil.

    “It is not an attempt to hit anybody hard.”

    However, Coober Pedy mayor Steve Baines said the rate hikes risked killing remote area towns.

    “It is going to close businesses and those that stay in business will have to shed staff,” he said.

    “We expect to pay more than Adelaide for our essential services but we don’t expect to pay 150 per cent more.”

    Coober Pedy residents will also be hit by a 20 per cent jump in water prices as the town relies on an energy-hungry desalinated water supply.

    The new tariffs apply to Mannahill, Blinman, Parachilna, Marree, Oodnadatta, Marla, Kingoonya, Glendambo, Nundroo, Coober Pedy, Andamooka, Yunta and Cockburn.

    http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2011/03/07/303481_print_friendly_article.html

  21. Outback power bills to double
    Russell Emmerson, Business Reporter From:
    AdelaideNow March 07, 2011

    POWER bills for key businesses in remote communities are likely to double from today.

    In a change the businesses say will be “disastrous” for their towns and livelihoods, the State Government’s Energy Department advised two weeks ago of increased electricity tariffs for 13 remote area towns not connected to the state’s electricity grid.

    Concerns about fairness have limited increases for small and medium residential users to no more than 10 per cent above their city counterparts but larger users now face bills aimed at recouping the full cost of providing the power – in some cases, a hike from $12,700 to $28,300.

    Andamooka Progress Association chairman Peter Allen said residents would not be saved from the jump as general stores, road houses and hotels coped with the new tariffs.

    “The larger users are the ones that supply the bread, the milk, the liquor, the accommodation,” he said.

    “They won’t be able to absorb the cost, so they have to pass it on.

    “Residents will be paying an extra 10 per cent (for their own bills) but also something extra on everything they buy, every day, every week.”

    Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said there was a need for the State Government to cover the rapidly-increasing and volatile price of oil but it had tried to mitigate the impact for remote area users.

    He said the measure was not aimed at raising revenue or cutting the Remote Areas Energy Supply subsidy but was an attempt to cover underestimates from previous years.

    “Any increase in the price of oil reverberates through the broader global economy,” he said.

    “We were aware in making this decision of the likely impact but the ability of government to subsidise any community can only go so far,” he said.

    “There has to be a reasonable reflection of the cost of electricity generation which in turn reflects the cost of oil.

    “It is not an attempt to hit anybody hard.”

    However, Coober Pedy mayor Steve Baines said the rate hikes risked killing remote area towns.

    “It is going to close businesses and those that stay in business will have to shed staff,” he said.

    “We expect to pay more than Adelaide for our essential services but we don’t expect to pay 150 per cent more.”

    Coober Pedy residents will also be hit by a 20 per cent jump in water prices as the town relies on an energy-hungry desalinated water supply.

    The new tariffs apply to Mannahill, Blinman, Parachilna, Marree, Oodnadatta, Marla, Kingoonya, Glendambo, Nundroo, Coober Pedy, Andamooka, Yunta and Cockburn.

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/power-bills-to-double/story-fn6bqphm-1226016722018

  22. Minister Snubs Regional Tourism Over Power Increases

    South Australian tourism minister John Rau brushed aside the fate of tourism businesses in remote communities when asked in parliament how he expects a small remote tourism business to absorb massive increases in electricity bills.

    Tourism businesses in remote towns like Coober Pedy were given just four days notice that their electricity prices would more than double.

    SA minister for energy Michael O’Brien was forced to admit that he did not know businesses in remote areas were given such short notice that their power prices would more than double: “I was actually unaware of the shortness of time that was given over to those consumers,” he said in parliament.

    “It is embarrassing that the cost of electricity more than doubles and the minister is so out of touch he is unaware of how much notice was given to the consumers,” shadow treasurer Iain Evans said. “In one case, the power bill will increase from around $320,000 to over $700,000 per year. How does the minister expect this remote tourism business to recover the extra $380,000 a year – over $1000 a day extra cost?

    Managing director of the Opal Inn accommodation group, Robert Coro, confirmed he had calculated he would now be paying $700,000 per year for electricity, up from $320,000. “I’m seriously considering whether it’s worth my while to stay open,” he said.

    “I’m supposed to somehow in a matter of one month initiate price rises to compensate for 130% in power and 25% in water. This is ridiculous.”

    But Mr O’Brien says the South Australian government will not back away from an increase in outback electricity prices. Authorities have cited the rising costs of electricity supply and increased grid prices.

    Business owners warn outback tourism will suffer and say it could force people to move away from outback areas. Mr O’Brien said he did not believe the rise would close businesses.

    “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.”

    Coober Pedy mayor Steve Baines, says the increase doesn’t make any sense.

    “Given that the Flinders and Far North generated $176 million worth of income just in tourism last financial year which resulted in $19.5 million worth of GST income to the state, I really can’t see the sense in this decision.”

    http://accomnews.com/modules/AMS/article.php?storyid=3528

  23. Outback council rejects energy supply deal
    Posted March 29, 2011 (ABC Local: Emma Pedler)

    Coober Pedy Council is refusing to sign a contract for communities in its area to remain under a remote energy supply scheme.

    Mayor Steve Baines says the South Australian Government wants the council to sign an agreement to formalise the scheme.

    But he says one of the conditions is that the Government has to give only 20 days’ notice of an electricity tariff increase in the 13 outback communities.

    Residential tariffs rose by about 20 per cent recently and commercial tariffs by more than 50 per cent.

    Mr Baines says the contract would clear the way for more price rises.

    “If we sign it, that ties us in for the next five years,” he said.

    SA Energy Minister Michael O’Brien says a formal agreement will provide a solid basis for electricity infrastructure in the outback towns
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/29/3176262.htm?site=northandwest

  24. This government is so IN YOUR FACE with powermongering, BS, manipulation and obvious contempt and hatred for the regions unless of course it serves their thirst for a buck they can waste on the city. Their debt is astounding which means we pay more than once for something we never got in the first place. Adding insult to injury the careless cuts target families and businesses in the remotest part of the state.

    They are also prepared to risk, possibly blowing Whyalla off the map with their ridiculous grasp at any industry and considering an Ammonium Nitrate plant on one of the most beautiful areas in the state. Not to mention those that live nearby. Why not consider other areas or other offers? Instead of grabbing the first unsuitable offer that comes along. The tired mantra of jobs is no longer working.

    This is not a government for South Australian people. This government operates as a colony of the United Kingdom and we sincerely hope our taxpayers funds haven’t gone into bailing Britain out of it’s self inflicted recession!!

  25. Outback residents have to start understanding that they have to pay the full cost of the resources they use. With a carbon tax also coming its time to get “smart” not “even”. Those companies that become more energy efficienct will become more competitive and will be more profitable in the long run. Bringing diesel fuel to the outback is expensive, and diesel fuel prices will keep rising as oil prices rise. Use less energy, more renewable energy, more insulation, turn off lights, use fans instead of air conditioners. Embrace the change don’t resist it.

  26. @ wise man (or party man). Bringing diesel fuel to the outback is indeed expensive and so is the Adelaide Oval amongst other city centric blowouts that the remote areas are being penalised for.

    Maybe the Outback would like their own central stadium for sporting activities and the rest of the state can pay for us to prosper for a change.

    If Mr Wise-man can provide a list of ways remote area taxes are being spent on remote areas, he will need to be heavily congratulated! He hasn’t suggested how “embracing the change” will stop the penalty on families copping the flow-on effect of heavily taxing these businesses in the interim while Labor tries to recover it’s bad debts and foolish spending of OUR taxes by re-penalising low voting areas of the state.

  27. Outback residents ‘gobsmacked’ by power price slug
    Posted April 21, 2011 11:00:00

    The chairman of the Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association says it has had a positive public response to its campaign on power price rises in South Australia’s north.

    Thirteen remote communities had their electricity prices increased last month by 20 per cent for domestic users and more than 50 per cent for businesses.

    Advertisements appeared in city and regional media last week outlining the issue.

    Rob Coro says some people he spoke to were previously unaware of the recent tariff increases.

    “Most people who I’ve bumped into in the street have been absolutely gobsmacked at the temerity of the Government to impose such fees,” he said.

    “A lot of people are saying, ‘wow, didn’t realise it was so bad, is anyone listening?'”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/21/3197698.htm?site=northandwest&section=news&date=(none)

  28. Whether or not some of us will be better off by becoming energy smart remains to be seen, as the majority of folk copping the flow-on effect are not businesses. It is not possible in every instant to be more energy smart than we already are. As a community, we can’t justify wounding families who live in these areas or the families who have saved up to travel. Just because families travel, doesn’t mean they are fair game for a government sting.

    As a business owner contemplating the ruthless slug – over one month I have monitored phone call use and strategically managed to save around $700. Why not profits we are sending to multinationals who have had decades of slugging us without mercy, simply for living in an area that requires a huge std loading, not to mention the crappy service we’ve had in the bush!

    Unfortunately in this savings measure the government will miss out on quite a bit of gst. Multiply this by 2,500 energy customers offsetting theft using nifty telephone wisdom. It wasn’t too difficult to claw back some savings. After all they’ve both the telephone companies and the gst tax have had a pretty good run. We too can decide where and when we will spend our money and how many times we will allow our dollar to be taxed.

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