Action on energy needed to support business and protect jobs

The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says urgent action to address electricity and gas prices is vital to prevent business closures and job losses.

“The latest reports on potential gas shortages in 2018 and 2019 shows there is no more time for debating what should be done and instead governments and the energy industry just need to get on and do it, in fact the NSW Business Chamber and others first raised concerns about these impending gas shortages in 2013,” NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright said.

“The latest NSW Business Chamber Business Conditions Survey for the September quarter shows that more than 65% of NSW businesses are now being affected by rising energy prices, which is up from 45% of businesses affected in the March quarter,” Mr Cartwright said.

“In just one year, reducing energy costs has jumped from the fifth most important priority for business to the second most important priority behind removing inefficiency in their own business, forcing businesses to rethink their business plans and try and reduce a cost which is for the most part out of their control.

“Many of these businesses have already implemented energy efficiency solutions, leaving them with no options other than to either wait until governments stop the blame game and act to bring down energy prices, or shut down and put people out of their jobs.

“Regional NSW towns with manufacturing industries risk being the hardest hit, as regional workers especially cannot simply move from one job to the next, which will devastate our regions and reverse any progress governments have tried so hard to make in supporting regional growth.

“Affordable gas isn’t just an issue for manufacturers, it is also vital for contributing to affordable power for all businesses and households.

“The Federal Government must stay firm in its commitment to ensure the delivery of affordable gas to businesses even if that means temporarily limiting gas exports.

“We also urge the NSW Government to continue facilitating the development of NSW’s gas projects and urgently deliver targeted energy efficiency programs for business.

“We shouldn’t have to wait until governments see long unemployment queues to spur them into action”, Mr Cartwright said.