NEWCASTLE RESIDENTS’ CHOICE BETWEEN BASIC NEEDS: THE $96,000 PROBLEM

State Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp has welcomed the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle to Newcastle today to discuss the rising electricity prices as a point of peak concern in community. Mr Crakanthorp and Mr Searle met with Pam Clark, a volunteer from St Vincent De Paul. In Ms Clark’s role, she is regularly contacted by vulnerable members of the community who are struggling to pay their electricity bills. She said that from July until October, they handed out over $96,000 worth of vouchers to people struggling to pay soaring electricity bills.


A quarter of all calls for assistance to St Vincent De Paul are now from those struggling with the increased price of power. Many have to choose between turning the lights on or buying groceries.
This mirrors the news that complaints to the state’s Energy and Water Ombudsman from the Hunter residents rose 14 per cent last financial year, higher than the overall state increase of 12 per cent.
Average household power prices have increased by 60 per cent since 2011 under the Liberal Government, including up to 20 per cent since Gladys Berejiklian became Premier.


Labor has announced that it would re-regulate electricity prices and welcomed Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s proposal for mandatory price caps set by the independent regulator. Unlike the Liberals, Labor has a plan to address power prices.


Quotes attributable to the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle MLC:
“For eight years, the Berejiklian Government has had just one energy policy – privatise and deregulate – which has caused skyrocketing prices for households and businesses.
“NSW Labor has committed to re-regulating retail electricity prices, but the Berejiklian Government has refused to do so.
“Labor’s approach is supported by the ACCC, farming, welfare and other consumer groups.”


Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp MP:
“The electricity crisis is real and it is crippling family budgets. It is disheartening to hear that local families are being forced to choose between electricity and food, basics of any household budget.”
“Newcastle continues to feel the effect of the Government’s relentless drive to privatise. The privatised bus network has already had an effect on the vulnerable members of our community and now the electricity network will punish them more.”
“At the start of a long hot summer, this is not great news. We need urgent action to address this crisis.”


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