Shadow Minister for Small Business Don Page is calling on the State Labor Government to find an alternative solution to the massive electricity price increases recommended by IPART this week.

“A 64% price increase over the next three years recommended by IPART is just not viable for small businesses and low income earners in NSW,” Mr Page said.

“The NSW State Labor Government have allowed our electricity infrastructure to run down over the past 15 years. They have spent little of the massive profits they have made during that time in upgrading our electricity assets.

“Instead they have used the electricity suppliers as a cash cow to fund their shocking history of waste and incompetence.

“The NSW State Labor Government have ripped more than $11.4 billion out of the energy companies in dividends and taxes.

“It is unconscionable for the NSW State Labor Government to expect small businesses and householders to pay for their neglect.” 

The overall price increase for the majority of customers will be between $754 and $918 a year. For the average small business it will mean an additional $3070 a year, Mr Page said.

“The NSW Labor Government are not compelled to implement IPART’s recommendations. I believe the State Government is responsible for the neglect and it’s up to the Government to fund the solution. They cannot expect the people of NSW to continue to pay for their incompetence,” Mr Page said.

“The Budget Papers show that the NSW Labor Government are set to reap $17 billion from the energy retailers in 2012–2013.  How can they justify a 64% price increase inflicted on small businesses and families in NSW while taking massive profits for themselves?

“When is this incompetent Labor Government going to start supporting the people they represent instead of ripping them off.

“NSW electricity consumers have already been hit with 20% increase, which came into effect from 1st July 2009.

“Small businesses in NSW are already buckling under the weight of excessive State taxes and regulation.

“Regional businesses are set to be hit the hardest by the price increases. A 2008 KPMG report showed that regional businesses are paying up to 51% and up to $100,000 more than their city counterparts for their electricity costs.”