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Bailey’s education failure leaves Queenslanders with higher power bills
Thursday, July 28 2016
Minister Mark Bailey spends less than $300,000 last year letting Queenslanders know about deregulation in south-east Queensland
Comes after delaying deregulation for a year to better educate consumers about the change
Families now paying more power because of Minister’s lack of action
Less than $300,000 was spent educating families about a major change to Queensland’s electricity market in the state’s south-east, leaving households and businesses with higher power bills.
Shadow Energy Minister Michael Hart said Minister Bailey revealed in Estimates just $292,052 was spent educating Queenslanders about the deregulation of electricity prices in south-east Queensland from the beginning of July this year.
“Despite the demonstrated benefits that flow from deregulation, Mr Bailey delayed deregulation in Queensland for a year, claiming a more comprehensive education campaign was needed,” Mr Hart said.
“We now know the Energy Minister’s department spent less than $300,000 on consumer awareness, and all of that was spent hiring an external agency to develop a strategy and liaise with stakeholders on behalf of Mr Bailey.
“Mr Bailey’s answer to a Question on Notice also shows that they only allocated a staff member in the department to the education campaign in June, despite the July 1 start date.
“We understand $300,000 is a lot of money, but for what should be an education campaign of this magnitude it’s simply inadequate.”
Mr Hart said there was no evidence of an extensive advertising campaign to let people living in south-east Queensland about this major change.
“Deregulation increases competition and this results in savings for families, but it only works when consumers understand the market and the need to shop around for the best deal,” he said.
“Mr Bailey’s incompetence means many families have simply been transferred on to their retailers’ standing offer instead of actively searching for the best available deal, meaning they are paying more for electricity.
“Mr Bailey’s last minute decision to delay deregulation for 12 months was cynical, and his failure to properly educate consumers about this change is farcical.
“Instead of sharing in savings after shopping around for better deals, Queenslanders are paying more because this Minister is asleep at the wheel.”
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“We announced the deferral of electricity price deregulation in south-east Queensland by 12 months, to ensure people are fully informed and prepared for this major change” – Mark Bailey, Hansard, 19 May, 2015.
“It makes sense to defer price deregulation by 12 months so we can ensure adequate consumer protection is in place, and strong consumer awareness campaign as well” – Mark Bailey quote in ‘Palaszczuk scraps power deregulation’ – The Australian Financial Review, April 28, 2015
Media Contact: Adam Davies 0417 010 702