The Nationals Gippsland South Power Electricity Energy

Power bill increases leaving businesses hurting

Gippsland Nationals MPs are continuing to receive complaints from local families and businesses struggling to manage skyrocketing electricity and gas prices.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath recently met with Thornton’s Bakery Leongatha owner, Darren McInnes who reported a 57 per cent increase in his monthly power bill since the beginning of 2018.

Mr O’Brien said Thornton’s Bakery employs nine staff and just to meet the power bill increase Mr Thornton would have to sell at least an extra 400 pies every month or cut back on costs like staff wages.

“This significant price rise is impacting on many businesses like Thornton’s Bakery and places enormous pressure on business owners to keep the doors open and staff employed,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Labor’s reckless policies that led to the closure of Hazelwood power station means power prices are going through the roof and local jobs and businesses are now at risk.

“Daniel Andrews needs to act immediately on energy prices instead of pointing the finger and hoping the Federal Government will fix his energy affordability mess.

“The government needs to understand the impact that power prices are having on the viability of businesses across Gippsland South.”

Ms Bath raised concerns in Parliament last week questioning the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio on what the government is doing to ensure that soaring energy costs do not force businesses like Thornton’s to sack staff or close their doors.

“The Andrews Labor Government last year claimed it had modelling to show that power prices would rise by just 4 per cent, or 85 cents per week, following the closure of Hazelwood. Instead we’ve seen retail prices sky rocket as much as 15 per cent this year alone and more for individual businesses,” Ms Bath said.

Mr O’Brien said the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio recently told Parliament that people experiencing big power cost increases should “shop around” and that she would be happy to meet with any business across the state to discuss the challenges they are facing.

“If you want to invite the Minister to your business, send me an email at danny.obrien@parliament.vic.gov.au and I’ll forward it on.”

Caption: The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien with The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath and owner of Thornton’s Bakery Leongatha, Darren McInnes.

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