Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey says the fact that his private members motion on the Remote Areas Subsidy for electricity has passed the Parliament unopposed, shows even the South Australian Federal Labor Members now stand in condemnation of the actions of the South Australian Government in removing the subsidy on electricity in remote communities.
After first raising this issue in the Federal Parliament on May 23 this year, Mr Ramsey said now is time for the State Government to rethink its withdrawal of support for essential services and restore the subsidy.
“This is a simple matter of equity. Electricity is an essential service and townships in our state deserve to be treated the same as similar towns in other states. Our remote towns provide services to the general public including the mining and tourist industries, generating genuine income residents and the state.
“I believe my motion received support because the House recognised South Australia is the only State treating its remote communities in this manner. The withdrawal of this assistance does not recognise the fact that remote communities subsidise many services in the city that they will never access. Fairness should run both ways.
“Thirteen communities are affected, the largest being Coober Pedy, as well as Andamooka, Yunta, Nundroo, Marla, Oodnadatta, Marree, Kingoonya, Glendambo, Parachilna, Blinman, Manna Hill and Cockburn.
“The bigger users of electricity in these towns including supermarkets, will see a greater than 100 percent increase in the tariff they will pay.
“Already electricity in these communities is around 50 percent higher than most. For some businesses it will mean extra bills in excess of $100,000 a year.
“Even water will become ridiculously expensive with Coober Pedy’s desalination plant being one of the largest electricity consumers in Coober Pedy with an expected additional cost of about $185,000 to supply the town’s water. These huge rises in power costs will increase prices on essential goods like food and will have a significant impact on indigenous and non indigenous who are already finding it hard to make ends meet.
“I continue to voice my opposition to this decision and call on the South Australian Government to listen to the Australian Parliament and reinstate the full subsidy”.