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Greens’ Senate Inquiry investigating Queensland electricity prices in Brisbane today

Media Release
Christine Milne 16 Feb 2015

The Greens-initiated Senate Inquiry into electricity prices held a public hearing in Brisbane today, gathering information to end systematic rorting of taxpayers and consumers by the electricity networks.

"Our Senate Inquiry is getting to the bottom of why Queenslanders have such astronomical electricity network charges - the highest in Australia," said Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Australian Greens, in Brisbane for the hearing today.

"The inquiry is looking into how to stop chronic over-investment in poles and wires, and improve transparency around how power prices are set.

"The fact is that state governments are maximising profits at the expense of jobs and innovation. It's time to write down these assets and admit failure to see the energy revolution that has sent them into a death spiral.

"Queensland sugar mills have given evidence at the public hearing today, saying they're being squeezed by a doubling of electricity costs as well as the Liberals' attack on the Renewable Energy Target," said Senator Milne.

"Tony Abbott's threats to slash the RET have destroyed confidence for those who are investing in generating energy from sugarcane waste. Queensland sugar mills are outraged that they can't roll out renewable projects that are ready to go, to help them avoid the ever-climbing power prices.

"Queensland's electricity prices are so high because the state government is making record dividends at the expense of households, farmers and industry.

"This inquiry will look closely at shifting this burden away from Queenslanders and on to the balance sheets of the state government," said Senator Milne.

"The Queensland Government, no matter who was in charge at the time, needs to be held accountable for such irresponsible over-investment in poles and wires. It cannot continue."

Australian Greens Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters, said:

"More and more Queenslanders are taking the power back through solar energy so they can control their own power bills - one in five Queensland homes have solar.

"The more people use solar, the less peak demand on the grid, which makes electricity and energy infrastructure cheaper for everyone.

"Our Sunshine State is leading the way in lowering power bills through solar, but a lack of transparency in electricity network charges and the network's habit of building more infrastructure than we need is forcing Queenslanders to pay more," Senator Waters said.

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