Parties battle it out on small business energy blueprint
Pic: Greenhouse gases
The Victorian government has announced its own default price, while the federal government’s policy would cover South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.
Speaking to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald at the event, the minister also said he was “determined” to see the government’s ‘big stick’ energy policies, including its forced divestiture policy, into the election campaign.
The policy includes a range of measures including powers to request a court order to force an energy company to divest assets if misusing market power.
“It is extraordinary to me that the so called friend of the worker, the Labor party, doesn’t want to support this,” minister Taylor said.
He also said it was also more important for small business owners, particularly in “weather sensitive” sectors like farming, to track climate data in order to help with business planning.
“My family has been doing this for 20 years – we use the CSIRO modelling of how weather is changing. There is good data out there and if you are a weather-sensitive business, you should do that work.”
The energy summit heard research commissioned by COSBOA surveying 200 small businesses across Australia which found one in ten are unable to repay electricity bills, while businesses that rent their premises are finding in harder to cope with power price increases than those owning property.
Shadow minister for climate change Pat Conroy said energy policy stability is the major issue for small businesses.
“The government has had 12 energy policies in two and a half years, and we’ve signalled our main focus is restoring stability,” he said.
Labor outlined its plan to reach a bipartisan national energy guarantee in its quest to deliver 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
The Australian Greens also laid out a blueprint for levelling the playing field for small businesses, including the introduction of low-cost electricity packages for businesses through a not-for-profit, publicly owned electricity retailer.
Greens energy spokesperson Adam Bandt proposed a $200 million small business “clean energy” fund to provide smaller operators with $10,000 grants for projects that improve energy efficiency.