Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stop the sell-off; stop the price increases!

Friday December 17, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira in the NSW state election, has announced she supports a freeze on electricity price increases for households. Her statement comes after an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) survey that shows more than half of all low-income families with mortgages are struggling to pay their power bills.

'The people of NSW, most of whom are already struggling with cost of living expenses, saw electricity price increases in July. Over the next three years prices are set to rise by at least 20% and up to 64%. These are increases that many people simply cannot afford and will drive people further into debt. The government needs to put controls in place that will guarantee no further price increases for households', said Harvey.

'At the same time, we need to stop all discounts given to big business. In 2005-2006 the fossil fuel industry was given up to $1.9 billion worth of electricity subsidies across Australia. Imagine if this money was used instead to help those low-income earners, or used to invest in clean, renewable energy? People shouldn't have to put up with price increases while the big polluters are receiving handouts.

Harvey stands for keeping public assets in public hands, including opposition to the privatisation of electricity. She announced her support for the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) statement that the union wouldn't support candidates who support privatisation.

'Bernie Riordon, ETU Secretary, was sacked as NSW ALP President for his union taking a principled stand that they cannot support candidates who support electricity privatisation. This shows how out of touch the Labor Party is. How could the ETU support the Labor government, which has already privatised electricity assets, which will see job losses, price increases, less reliable service and less environmental safeguards, as has been the case in Victoria and South Australia?

'The fact is that the vast majority of people in this state want to keep electricity in public hands. As a candidate, I pledge to fight for the annulment of the sale of recently sold electricity assets, which was done in an undemocratic and secretive manner and oppose the further privatisation of the electricity network. I will be guided by the principle that public assets should be held in public hands and should be used for the public good', Harvey concluded.

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