Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls performed well in his interview on 612 ABC Brisbane radio yesterday morning, rightly avoiding a commitment that power prices would fall as a result of privatisation, which he certainly couldn’t guarantee. In a question to the Treasurer, at 5 minutes 15 seconds into the interview, host Steve Austin quoted from my post from yesterday morning Power prices would be lower than otherwise, but may not fall, under privatisation:
Steve: Economist Gene Tunny has written this morning that, contrary to way the [Courier-Mail] story has been written, he says, and I quote, “I don’t think it [the EY report] can be read as saying prices will fall under privatisation, only that the growth rate of prices under privatisation would be lower.” So, either way, prices are going up.
Treasurer: Steve, When I read to you from the report on page 10 I said that prices have increased in the States – network charges being the main driver of those increases only in Qld and NSW, and just a moment ago I said the rate of increase has been much lower in Victoria and SA than in Qld and NSW.
Steve: So you agree that prices are still going up.
Treasurer: I understand that exactly and prices have gone up here…why have they gone up here in Qld? We had the solar feed in tariff scheme…
That was a pretty good answer from the Treasurer, particularly because he avoided a commitment to lower power prices that could come back to haunt him in future years.