LETTER: Labor working to keep power costs low
I KNOW electricity is a major cost of living pressure for Bundaberg families and the Palaszczuk Government is doing what we can to put as much downward pressure on those costs as possible.
The National Energy Market is broken with Federal policy paralysis preventing new energy supply coming on line to respond to closure of privately owned power stations - Hazelwood in Victoria and Northern in South Australia.
This means energy prices are increasing not just in Queensland but across the country.
But thanks to swift action by the Palaszczuk Government, we've been able to limit that increase to the lowest amount of all mainland NEM states, just 3.3% compared to up to 20% elsewhere.
Since the Palaszczuk Government has been in office, average retail prices for households have gone up just 1.9% each year.
This compares to the 43% increase inflicted under the term of the Newman-Nicholls government - an additional $436 for the average Queensland household.
Recent inflammatory comments made by One Nation leader Steve Dickson suggesting disconnections are increasing across the state fail to tell the full story, and amount to scaremongering.
This comes from a Party who on one hand claims to be interested in the welfare of the state's battlers but on the other wants to get in bed with the asset sales obsessed LNP.
Given the actions of the previous Newman-Nicholls LNP Government spending more than $100 million preparing for asset sales while electricity prices spiralled out of control, it's clear they can't be trusted.
The LNP's only energy plan has been to sell our power assets placing our energy security at risk.
The fact is that the Palaszczuk Government's first year, residential disconnections reduced by 27% in 2015-16 - compared to 2014-15 when the LNP were in power, and were still 18 per cent lower in the first three quarters of 2016-17 than under the LNP government.
The Palaszczuk Government is working hard to shelter Queenslanders from the prices rises caused by the Federal LNP Government's inaction.
We've invested $1.16 billion through our Powering Queensland Plan to put downward pressure on consumers' energy costs.
We also invested $770 million to slash the Queensland Competition Authority's determined price increase by more than half, using funds which would otherwise have gone inter-state or overseas if our energy assets had been sold off as the LNP intended.
On top of this, the Palaszczuk Government has acted to mitigate price impacts on vulnerable Queenslanders, including extending the Electricity Rebate (which provides $340.85 assistance in 2017-18) to more low-income households.
This is an important reform the LNP could have taken, but didn't.
Finally, the Palaszczuk Government has committed $10 million in this year's budget and streamlined the application process for the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme, allowing more customers experiencing financial hardship to access emergency assistance and avoid potential disconnection.
This scheme provides low-income households experiencing an emergency or crisis up to $720 once every two years towards their energy debt.
Only the Palaszczuk Government is taking real action to stabilise electricity prices - using levers that are available to us because we've kept energy generators in public hands.
Member for Bundaberg
God can't do it all
TODAY, sadly many of us live in constant fear of reprisal, retaliation, or repercussion from past or present violent relationships.
Who is to blame for this unfortunate dilemma? Who is at fault?
In each individual case, we will all have our opinion, and no doubt with 11 very good reason.
Sometimes it appears clear for us humans, but we never know all the facts, reasons or motives behind even our own actions, let alone those of others.
And even if we did, we wouldn't be qualified to rule to absolute perfection.
Often we are not aware of the consequences that will inevitably follow the choices we make.
If we are not made aware that pouring petrol on the fire will cause horrific results, we may well do it.
Sometimes we have had no guidelines as children or teens going forward, which would prepare us for life's pitfalls and perplexities.
We have never had a stable, positive role model upon which to base our life skills-set, or been shown how to cope with our (I don't like the word demons) disappointments along the way. In years past we often had the same job for years, and worked alongside the same people, and the workplace was our second home.
Those people were pillars in our life, and when we were at work, their positive influence enabled us to cope with difficult situations.
Many young people today do not have a job, let alone a role model and a stable relationship in the workplace.
Ignorance of the consequences causes us to do foolish and impetuous actions which destroy relationships and create heartache for many of our friends and families.
Sometimes we hear it said "if God loves us, why does he allow us to suffer as we do?”
One thing God can't do is prevent us from suffering the consequences, unless he takes away from us our free will, and our own choices which we make.
The Lord's prayer says "deliver us from evil” - and he will.
But if we pursue it and invite it and revel in it, he can do nothing to help us.
We will be on our own.
The consequences of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)