Horticulture

Soaring energy costs hit hard

by
October 04, 2017

Shepparton East’s Radevski Coolstores is digging deeper and deeper to meet the skyrocketing cost of electricity.

Shepparton East’s Radevski Coolstores is digging deeper and deeper to meet the skyrocketing cost of electricity.

The family-owned business has been growing, storing and packing fruit locally for more than 50 years, but the increase in energy costs this year is confronting.

They’re in the process of renewing energy contracts for 2018 and have two quotes — one $185000 higher than last year and the other an increase of $195000.

They have no choice but to absorb the increase, but it means there’s less money to employ staff or expand the business.

The Radevskis aren’t alone.

Kyvalley Dairy, near Kyabram, has had a 50 per cent increase in electricity costs.

Processors like Murray Goulburn have experienced price rises well above 50 per cent this year and expect similar again in the year ahead.

Colbinabbin’s VicFeeds, which supplies feed to dairy farmers in the Goulburn Valley and Gippsland, faced an unexpected 110 per cent increase in electricity costs last month after the existing contract expired.

Regional businesses are bleeding cash — just to keep the lights on.

State-funded country hospitals are also feeling the pinch.

Kyabram District Health Service’s bills are expected to increase 80 per cent this year, up $160000 on last year’s costs.

At Benalla Health, electricity costs increased by more than 85 per cent this financial year and gas has gone up 74 per cent.

Hospital auxiliary cake sales won’t cover these soaring prices.

The Andrews Government won’t commit to funding the increase, leaving country hospitals with serious concerns about the impact these soaring costs will have on services.

After failing to stop Hazelwood’s closure — and the loss of 750 jobs and 22 per cent of Victoria’s electricity supply — Daniel Andrews is desperate to handball his mess to the Commonwealth.

Unlike Labor, the Victorian Nationals understand Victoria needs a secure baseload power supply.

The Nationals here in Victoria have announced a commitment to work on the right policy settings and investment conditions to support building a high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) power plant in the Latrobe Valley.

An elected Liberal-Nationals government has committed to securing baseload power at Yallourn and Loy Yang power stations, keeping the lights on and securing local jobs.

Labor’s go-it-alone VRET would be scrapped and instead we would support a national transition to cleaner energy.

And we won’t put ideology ahead of energy affordability and security.

—Peter Walsh

Victorian Nationals leader

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