FINKEL FAN: Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell speaks during a Coffs Harbour visit.
FINKEL FAN: Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell speaks during a Coffs Harbour visit. Trevor Veale

Small businesses bleeding from higher energy costs

SMALL Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, says smaller operators are the forgotten people in Australia's energy crisis.

Ms Carnell says high energy users like manufacturers and hospitality businesses are casualties of a failed system.

"It makes sense for heavy users to negotiate long-term contracts but it's nearly impossible to meaningfully compare quotes without expert knowledge,” she said.

"Combined with poor reliability of supply, small businesses are in a precarious position.

"It's a disincentive to employ and invest.

"For manufacturers, the rising cost of energy has also heightened their vulnerability to foreign competition, eroding one of the few cost advantages that Australia has compared to other countries.

"It's a terrible shame one of the most energy abundant nations in the world has reached this point.”

A supporter of the Finkel Report, Ms Carnell says while the recommendations are technology agnostic, they support growth in renewables and storage and encourage lower emissions from coal and gas.

"It's encouraging that COAG endorsed 49 of the 50 recommendations and some good will come of that.

"The Commonwealth has not ruled out a clean energy target and is working towards this.

"Business as usual is no longer an option.

"Without investment there will continue to be price hikes and unreliability.

"The consequences for small business, employees and consumers are potentially dire and can't be allowed to occur.”



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