Letter to the Editor
Having just received a copy of a study produced by Dr Lynne Chester from the University of Sydney dealing with the subject of the effect on low income Australian families from the rapid escalation of electricity prices since the middle of 2007 to 2013. It was illuminating to discover that electricity prices had increased by more than Queensland politicians pay packet in 2013 (50.9%) and on average around Australia had increased by nearly 83%.
The report highlighted that about 1.5 million ( up to 5 million Australians) of the poorest households do not have access to the internet and use pre-paid telephones as their means of communication, which of course is much more expensive than having a home phone connection. This means that for those people they are unable to wait in a queue and if by chance they do get through they are limited by time as to how much information they can get. They are also basically unaware of programs run by government or the energy company that may assist them.
Unfortunately 75% of this group have had to cut back on food in order to pay their electricity bills, sometimes meaning that the parents went without so that their children could eat. In a nation that has been recently shown to be the best in the O.E.C.D this is a disgraceful footnote which clearly shows the have’s and the have not’s. The time has well and truly arrived for the federal government to have a policy to help the working poor and the poor. The report also found that they had reduced usage and did all the recommended things i.e. change of light bulbs etc.
Campbell Newman thinks that a parliamentary increase payment of 50.9% in one year is ‘fair’ so by definition he must think that this situation is ‘very unfair’ and with his federal counterpart will take almost immediate action to lessen this obvious ‘unfairness.’
13 Laura Court
North Queensland, 4818
Email – sne35565
P.S. The online report will be available 25.10.13 www.householdenergyuse.com