An electricity pylon power line transmission tower at sunset. Picture: iStock
An electricity pylon power line transmission tower at sunset. Picture: iStock FILE

Pitt's priorities: Keith pushes for electricity legislation

THE Hinkler Federal MP returns to the real political work now that his job is secured for a third term, and lists affordable electricity as an early priority to push in parliament.

The legislation is expected to challenge the power of states through pricing models set by state owned energy companies through legal action and fines up to $10 million, or by offering electricity supply contracts to other companies.

Keith Pitt describes the legislation as a "big stick”, which intends to increase competition and accountability in the industry once it is passed in parliament.

A date is yet to be set for the next parliamentary sitting but it is likely to be next month.

"Seniors, families, businesses and producers in regional Queensland are screaming out for relief on electricity prices, yet the Palaszczcuk Government continues to ignore them,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt has already spoken in parliament about the legislation.

In December last year he accused the Queensland Government of profiteering through the costs of electricity by centralising all companies under one retailer in regional Queensland.

The legislation will stop that and save the manufacturing industry suffering under current prices.

"The divestiture laws, if activated, are good legislation. They are strong decisions that send a very clear message to those people who are robbing consumers right across the country,” Mr Pitt said at the time.

Mr Pitt's office was asked how such legislation would alleviate the cost of electricity, and while not answering directly, was able to refer the NewsMail onto a joint statement released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, and Minister for Energy Angus Taylor last December.

They said that through the legislation, state controlled electricity companies would not be able to restrict supply in order to increase prices, and had to pass on any of its saving costs onto its consumers.

Legal action could be taken through the Federal Court with fines up to $10 million.

The Treasurer would also have the power to offer other companies financial contracts to supply electricity, but it would need the recommendation of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to do so.

Mr Pitt said that other priorities he aimed to focus on including pushing through the Hinkler Regional Deal, which was worth $173 million of federal funding in the electorate, but it would be more if the state government committed to the funds.

He particularly wanted to see the Royal Flying Doctor Service aero-medica training facility completed through the project's funds, which he said will bring hundreds of people to Bundaberg to train.

Another project Mr Pitt listed included the multi-use conveyor belt at the Port of Bundaberg, which he believed will increase investment.

There were signs that investment was coming because of the multi-use conveyor belt, which he alluded to at the recent Hinkler election candidates' forum held last week.

Bundaberg State Member David Batt showed support for a restructure, saying that Bundaberg residents were limited to using Ergon as a power supplier.

He said that under an LNP led government the number of power generators would increase to three companies in an effort to create competition in the sector.

"Introducing competition has the potential to reduce power bills by up to $900 over three years.

"This is a long-term structural reform backed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, also falling in line with the federal government's plans.”



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