Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Growers Breaking under Strain; Farmers Feel 'Betrayed'

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Growers Breaking under Strain; Farmers Feel 'Betrayed'

Article excerpt

JIM ALOUAT

JOURNALIST

jim.alouat@news-mail.com.au

FARMERS say they have been betrayed by yet another crippling electricity price hike that will add further pressure to financially strained growers.

Queensland Framers' Federation president Stuart Armitage slammed the Queensland Competition Authority's price determination as price gauging at the expense of regional and rural Queenslanders.

Mr Armitage said in the QCA's draft determination, the farming sector was assured that price increases for irrigation tariffs (62, 65 and 66) would be in line with the CPI at 1.7% - 1.9%. Instead on Thursday farmers were slugged with increases on their electricity bills of up to 10.3%; four-and-a-half times more than CPI.

While Mr Armitage thanked State Treasurer Curtis Pitt for directing the QCA to revisit its figures and make a final price determination on June 16, he said the continued uncertainty was frustrating for farmers.

"Some of our farmers now face the reality that the only way to keep their businesses viable is to abandon the grid, which negatively impacts all remaining customers," Mr Armitage said. …

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