Small business happy with state move on power prices

QUEENSLAND small business is confident the state government's new long-term electricity plan will put the brakes on soaring power bills and stimulate the economy.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has welcomed the launch of PowerQ, the government's 30-year strategy for Queensland's electricity sector.

Chamber general manager of advocacy Nick Behrens said PowerQ represented a "clear vision" for the sector and would influence the state's future direction with a series of well-defined goals and visions.

"Recent price rises for small business and commercial users have necessitated a strategy to implement actions to make electricity more affordable and prices more stable," Mr Behrens said.

CCIQ was pleased that key themes which small business provided in submissions to the government had been widely embraced.

"These included greater price stability, getting competition into regional Queensland, getting SME assistance to understand the market and recognising the importance of a diversified generation mix," Mr Behrens said.

"Consumers, the market and government all have important roles to play in placing downward pressure on electricity prices.

"CCIQ is highly supportive of improving consumer value through ensuring the Queensland electricity market is cost-competitive.

"At the same time, CCIQ wants to champion informed decision-making in a dramatically changing electricity supply industry.

"Encouraging a competitive and diverse market that attracts more innovation and investment, which ultimately creates a cost-effective, sustainable electricity market, makes clear sense."

Mr Behrens said CCIQ acknowledged the government had introduced significant short-term electricity reforms, including cessation of building unnecessary infrastructure to balance service levels with costs to consumers while improving the efficiency of network businesses.

"Concurrently, we are moving to full retail competition in south-east Queensland with consumer protections," he said.

"PowerQ uses these important reforms as its foundation for the future, which CCIQ supports in full.

"This strategy recognises productivity improvements in the electricity supply chain are the key, offering significant long-term financial benefits to Queensland - including another 1% increase to gross state product and $1.8 billion of consumption across the state."

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