Energy & Waste
Rising electricity costs are still a pain point for many businesses and not enough is being done to see a reduction in electricity costs. This is exacerbated by a lack of policy certainty at the federal level. More competition and investment in the National Electricity Market (NEM) is needed but this will only be achieved once there is policy certainty.
The Waste Levy is a significant concern for businesses and serves as another tax burden. While CCIQ opposes the Waste Levy, the recommendations provided are aimed at mitigating the damage it will have on businesses.
Commit to working closely with energy stakeholders to ensure efficient tariff design which reflect small business demand and usage profiles.
Issue a permanent and enduring direction to both Stanwell Corporation and CS Energy to undertake strategies to place downward pressure on electricity prices.
Extend funding for grants for battery and solar battery storage system.
Release the Queensland Gas Action Plan to provide certainty to industry.
Commit to an inquiry to investigate the benefits and viability of a contestable retail market in regional Queensland, with the aim to put downward pressure on prices – particularly a review of the possibility of having Network Community Service Obligation which will open up competition in the retail market.
Commit to supporting the recommendations from CCIQ’s SME Sector Adaptation Plan (SAP).The SME SAP is a collaborative, but CCIQ driven, document to identify the challenges businesses face in adapting to a changing climate and making recommendations from the findings to ensure business resilience.
The recommendations which require funding include (but are not limited to):
A review of workplace health and safety legislation to assess whether there is clarity on the roles and responsibilities of employers and employees in the context of risks that arise from climate change.
An investigation of alternate insurance products and financial risk management strategies for businesses – particularly those prone to natural disasters. This requires Identifying the precise insurance difficulties the regional areas are encountering and developing solutions that provide effective, accessible and affordable insurance options. This can be done through a task force or working group.
Continue to promote and fund tools and initiatives that make businesses more resilient to increased energy consumption. An example of this is ecoBiz.
To lower power prices, standing offers should be replaced with a default market offer that has a price cap (price safety net).
Adopt recommendation 50 of the ACCC’s recommendations that all discounts be calculated from a reference bill set by the AER.
Fund industry bodies to provide tailored electricity market advice. An example of this is the Business Energy Advice Program, funded by the Federal Government, and the purpose of the program is to deliver energy efficiency and retail switching advice to small businesses over a period of three years.
Require network operators to write down network overinvestment.
Restructure QLD generators into three separately owned portfolios to improve competition.
Improve transparency of over-the-counter contract trading by requiring reporting of these trades to a central registry.
The proposal to phase in the waste levy, through a rebate, should apply to all those affected, including businesses to ensure all affected parties are afforded a period to adjust to the new regulations.
The ‘Waste Strategy’ in its entirety be reviewed as soon as reasonably practicable, and that such review pre-empt the traditional time allocated for legislative reviews (3-5 years) to assess its impact on small businesses.
CCIQ advocates that levy revenue must be used in its entirety to develop the required infrastructure and industry adjustment packages, as well as small business support programs to assist businesses in reducing waste to landfill.
If the revenue exceeds the projected amount, then the surplus should be used to reduce government debt and or fund business programs, and not diverted to consolidated revenue. A portion of the surplus should also go towards reducing the Uniform Tariff Policy in the regional areas to reduce power prices.
Commit to continued funding of the ecoBiz program with an additional $2 million over three years. This will enable ecoBiz to provide additional waste assessments and waste support to over 500 new businesses each year, positioning Queensland businesses as world class in resource management. Continued ecoBiz funding will also allow ecoBiz to digitise the Small Business Climate Change Risk Management Tool developed by the Department of Environmental Science (DES) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). This is a free tool that takes businesses through a step by step process of how to identify climate change risks to the business and what adaptation steps to take to make the business resilient.