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Energy crisis worse than GFC, needs action not debate

COSBOA today has called on all political parties to agree on an energy policy that will lead Australia out of a crisis that is threatening to destroy businesses, increase unemployment and create substantial price increases for basic commodities and necessities.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA stated today “the small business community, indeed the whole business community is facing increasing energy costs of such measure that business plans are in tatters and cash flow in ruins. The same businesses are also concerned that they can no longer rely on access to power and need to not just have back-up power sources but in some cases further back-up reserves as well. We are in danger of becoming uncompetitive in the international marketplace. This is an unprecedented crisis and must be confronted now.”

COSBOA has developed its first Energy Policy document as a response. The lack of action from governments, state as well as federal, has left our economy under threat. There must be bipartisan support for the Finkel Review recommendations. The policy is below.

Mr Strong added “the members of the back bench of the government must support action. We’ve had enough talk and chest beating. The business community was promised that a change of government would see power prices drop but the opposite has occurred. Inaction and laissez-faire economics and policies have created this mess and we must act now. COAG must hold an urgent meeting this week and not leave that meeting until decisions have been made that will start to fix the problem. Power costs must drop, gas reserves must be released and made available to Australian energy suppliers and businesses, the Finkel

Review must be actioned.”

COSBOA will be active in the ACCC review of electricity prices recently announced to ensure that ideologues and economic dinosaurs do not have the influence that they have used in the past to create this situation. We will hold state governments to account for some of their decisions that have added unbearable cost to business operations. The NSW government in particular must undo the outcome of its recent court action against the Australian Energy Regulator that added some $3b to the cost of power for residents and businesses in their state and in the ACT.

Energy, Power and Small Business

Australia is confronting an energy crisis unparalleled in our history.

The business community is facing uncertainty in access to power and confront price increases that place business viability under threat. This impacts upon jobs and the economy. This also impacts upon the health of the self-employed and their employees

COSBOA notes that this situation has come about from a failure from decision makers at the state and federal levels to agree on what should be done and this situation must change now. This is the time to take action.

We believe this is no longer about discussion on what is needed but is now about change management. It is about certainty for the people that run business.

Policy Statement

Australia needs certainty in energy policy.

The Finkel Review must be actioned immediately and we need vital bipartisan support for the recommendations of the Finkel Review.

The small business community needs up to date information for our business planning, this includes:

  • The likelihood and timing of power outages

  • Short-term and long-term predictions of changes in power price provided in non-technical language that can be understood by normal people.

  • Early notification of actual price changes before they take place.

  • There must be assistance to vulnerable businesses who need to develop extra back-up power sources for safety purposes and business continuity.

  • COAG must meet urgently to agree on a way forward and the states must accept responsibility for power supplies particularly for access to gas reserves.

  • The government must provide information on how to maintain business activities in the face of rising costs.

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