Adjournment- Energy prices

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and the action I am seeking is that she come to Shepparton and meet with the owners of Radevski Coolstores to discuss the high energy prices that they are confronted with. Radevski Coolstores in Shepparton East harvest and store apples, pears and peaches for consumption. The Radevskis have just recently gone through the process of renewing their electricity contract for 2018. As part of that process they got a couple of quotes.

Their current electricity costs are in the vicinity of $288 000 per year. The lowest quote they got was $473 000 and the highest quote was $483 000. Whichever way they go, whether they go for the lower or the higher quote, they are looking at an increase in their electricity costs of 64 or 68 per cent in one year. That is a lot of money — it represents $185 000 to $195 000 in one year in just electricity costs. The money could be used for expansion, for employing people or for a whole range of things in terms of expanding their business, making it more efficient and so forth, but unfortunately a lot of that money will be absorbed in the higher cost of electricity, which actually delivers nothing for their business other than being a higher expense.

What I am looking to have the minister do is come along and meet with the owners of Radevski Coolstores to gain an understanding of the impacts of the higher prices on their business, including what it means for jobs for their business, and to gain some sort of understanding that the policies undertaken by the government at this point are not working in terms of providing competitiveness for businesses, particularly those food-processing businesses which rely on energy to operate in an efficient way. This business has been in operation for more than 50 years. These increased energy prices are really putting pressure on such businesses to sustain themselves. I think we will see increasingly through a hot summer and in the coming years that a lot of these businesses will find that they just cannot operate in this state because of the high electricity prices that they are confronted with as a result of the reckless policies undertaken by this government.

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