The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Premier Will Hodgman to be up front with local and national energy consumers about who will control future energy capacity coming from Tasmania.
CEPU State Secretary Michael Anderson says that the PM’s press release (link below), aside from being inaccurate, leaves the most important question untouched.
“Morrison and Hodgman now need to state for the record, who will own any new interconnectors? Foreign governments for profit, or local taxpayers?”
“Leaving aside that the maths in the PM’s statement don’t add up, foreign ownership of Basslink has seen Tasmanians pay nearly as much for its use in rent than if we built it ourselves, and we have nothing to show for it.”
“The majority of the community knows that Basslink being privately owned has been a disaster, including in 2014 when Liberal mismanagement left taxpayers with a bill of millions when the cable failed.”
Mr Anderson says that the only way to lower and control power prices, is to ensure that public ownership is front and centre.
The Union says there are serious holes in the statement, as each interconnector cable is roughly 600MW and costs approximately $1.5bn.
“The PM’s announcement of $56m is only around 2% of the funding required for what they say is 1200MW of interconnection, so who will control and own the other 98%?”
“Privatisation has been a disaster for energy consumers in Australia, so we need to clearly know who State and Federal governments really serve, consumers who are being gouged, or big business and market speculation?”
“The PM’s statement refers to a Hodgman government feasibility study and business case ‘stacking up’, but for who? If it’s not publically owned, it will only stack up for business interests.”
Another issue raised by the Union is who will benefit from the extra capacity to sell power into Victoria.
“More demand from Victoria will drive prices up, not down, and Tasmanians need an explanation about how this will benefit them.”
Prime Minister’s release here;