Time to debate electricity prices during 2013 election campaign: Australia's consumer network

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-7-17 13:05:15

One Big Switch, a consumer network of 450,000 members in Australia, has challenged Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to publicly debate electricity prices during the 2013 election campaign, said a statement released on Wednesday.

This organization Wednesday launched an "ElectricityFacts" campaign calling on both major parties to agree to an election debate on the future of electricity pricing & competition, and formal electricity pricing & competition policies that go beyond merely scrapping the carbon tax.

It's time for some facts instead of more hot air about electricity reform, Director of campaigns Christopher Zinn said in the statement.

According to Christopher Zinn, both sides of politics have put electricity costs at the top of the agenda by promising to scrap the carbon tax because of cost of living issues. But it is only a small first step and no substitute for proper electricity reform.

"Families will be happy to hear the carbon tax is being dumped, but it won't solve all their electricity problems, bills will still be at record highs," Christopher Zinn said. "That's why we want to see Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott actually stand up and debate electricity prices. We want to see the sparks fly in a debate about a real issue that is smashing family budgets."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced on Tuesday to shift from the current fixed carbon price to the emission trade scheme from July 1, 2014, a year earlier than scheduled, in an attempt to shore up more votes in this key election topic.

Under Rudd's plan, Australia will move from a fixed carbon price of 24.15 AU dollars (21.94 US dollars) a tonne to a floating price of about 6 AU dollars (5.45 US dollars) by July next year, easing cost pressure for Australian businesses and saving average Australian households by 380 AU dollars (345.25 US dollars) a year.

The Coalition has long been opposing carbon tax and promised to scrap it if elected. However, for Rudd's decision, aiming to neutralize the issue, the Coalition argued that a "tax is a tax" and households and business will continue to be slugged, despite the move from a fixed to a floating carbon price linked to the European ETS. Global carbon market linkages will also put the Australian economy at the whim of European bureaucrats, the Coalition said on Tuesday.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

blog comments powered by Disqus