The Liberal National Party plans to bring down electricity bills by $300 by introducing competition to regional Queensland's electricity market.
In response to Labor's Budget of taxes, debt and unemployment, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington today announced her plan to level the playing field for electricity retailers in regional Queensland.
"Households in regional Queensland deserve affordable energy but the government-owned Ergon Energy has a stranglehold on the market," Ms Frecklington said.
"The LNP believes more competition in the marketplace is the best way to drive down prices and should not be restricted to the Southeast corner.
"Southeast Queenslanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to their energy retailers while regional communities are chained to Ergon.
"It's not good enough that Queenslanders north of Gympie and west of Toowoomba are treated like second-class citizens."
Ms Frecklington said the LNP would introduce reforms to allow other energy retailers to compete against Ergon.
"The LNP's plan would end Labor's electricity divide between the Southeast and the rest of Queensland and deliver real choice for regional communities," she said.
"Competition drives efficiencies and cuts bills and that's why an elected LNP Government would make extending retail competition to the whole of Queensland a priority.
"The LNP's plan would make the market more attractive for retail operators to compete against Ergon's retail business and ensure all Queenslanders can look for better deals.
"Labor's only plan is to use electricity as a secret tax and set state-based renewable energy targets that push up everyone's bills."
Ms Frecklington said giving regional Queenslanders the chance to shop around would save households around $300 a year (based on the experience of households in the Southeast where competition is strong and consumers are saving $350 to $400).
LNP Shadow Minister for Energy Michael Hart said Labor's great electricity rip-off was a kick in the guts for regional Queensland from a Brisbane-centric Labor Government.
"Labor set up the Electricity Pricing Inquiry and has failed to act on key recommendations that should provide cheaper electricity," Mr Hart said.
"The last LNP Government introduced competition into the retail electricity market in Southeast Queensland and if Deb Frecklington were Premier she would apply the policy statewide.
"We're now seeing competition deliver real savings in Southeast Queensland.
"According to the Queensland Productivity Commission, this reform would deliver around $303 million in benefits to regional customers over the initial five-year period due to price discounting and competition.
"The LNP's plan would also maintain the Uniform Tariff Policy, which supports economic development by levelling the playing field for businesses operating in the regions."
The LNP's plan to introduce competition in regional energy markets complemented two polices announced earlier this month to boost competition and support green energy by:
· restructuring government-owned power generators from two to three entities which will drive down prices through more competition, and;
· mandating investment by our government-owned energy companies in renewable energy generation.