Shadow Minister for Small Business and Regulatory Reform and Member for Ballina Don Page has expressed concern over the findings of a KPMG report showing that regional businesses pay up to 51 per cent more for electricity costs than their city counterparts.

The report said that the cost of electricity was higher in regional areas because they were serving smaller populations.

“The KPMG report is further evidence of how tough the regions are doing it. If the Iemma Government is serious about decentralising, it needs to address cost differentials such as this,” Mr Page said

The report showed that regional businesses are paying up to $100,000 more than their city counterparts.

It also said that the gap between urban and regional costs for large power users was greatest in NSW.

According to the report, regional businesses are absorbing the extra electricity costs in most cases, because they are unable to pass them on to the consumer. 

“The regions are crying out for increased services and jobs. Yet this report shows that many regional businesses will be inclined move to more cost-effective areas,” Mr Page said.

“I have further concerns that electricity costs in regional areas are likely to increase even more with privatisation of the electricity industry due to economies of scale.

“The Iemma Government have long been ignoring the regions and I call on them to start providing greater assistance to the engine room of NSW.”