Escalating electricity costs are already contributing to Australia losing its competitiveness in the international market for agricultural product. At the same time, they are impacting the viability of producers of fresh food and natural fibre consumed by Australian households.
Skyrocketing electricity prices as a major threat to the sustainability and competitiveness of food and fibre production in Australia.
The impact is particularly severe on agricultural product produced by irrigators who need power to pump water or product that needs processing, packaging and/or refrigeration.
It is not good enough to just stem the increases in power prices. They are already making Australia less competitive and productive. The Taskforce has shown that some international markets have already gone because our product is no longer competitive and even an entire irrigation district that might cease operation (leading to around a halving in the productivity per hectare and massive flow on job losses in processing) because of rising power prices.
These outcomes are unacceptable for a country with abundant energy resources and with a national objective of providing its residents with affordable food and fibre – let alone an objective of being a ‘food bowl’ for Asia.
The Ag Industries Energy Taskforce says we must see a 30% reduction in power prices, with a long-term price of 8 cents per kw/h for the electrons (R) and 8 cents for the supply (N).
To date the Taskforce has made 17 submissions to various inquiries. Agricultural peak bodies find themselves at a disadvantage in many of the electricity industries processes. Our groups don’t have highly paid specialists able to speak the language of the electricity industry as the electricity network owners do and that puts agriculture at a disadvantage as it tries to convince regulators to put consumers first.
That’s why we have got together in an attempt to pool our limited resources and make a bigger impact on behalf of hard working farmers.
National Irrigators Council
National Farmers Federation
Central Irrigation Trust
NSW Irrigators Council
Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group
Winemakers Federation of Australia
Pioneer Valley Water
Australian Pork Ltd