The high cost of electricity in Australia was mainly due to state governments' move of generating revenues from power generators, which according to Prime Minister Julia Gillard were operating burdens eventually shouldered by consumers.
In a speech that ABC said Ms Gillard will address on Tuesday before the Energy Policy Institute in Sydney, it is understood that the federal government will put the blame on state authorities for the spiralling costs of electricity in New South Wales, Queensland and other states over the past four years.
According to The Australian, some $32 billion of projected state revenues would be sourced from power utility firms and electricity retailers, setting the stage for another four year of electricity price hikes, the News Ltd publication added, could potentially squeeze hundreds of dollars annually from an average Aussie household.
Ms Gillard, ABC said, would call for reforms that specifically would target dividend payments to state authorities, which in the end, according to the prime minister, would send out electricity price shocks to the ordinary consumers.
The federal initiative, however, was branded by the Coalition as mere politicking on the part of Ms Gillard, who has failed or overlooked measures imposed by state Labor governments that resulted to skyrocketing electricity prices, according to opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt.
If indeed federal authorities were dead serious in effectively pulling down electricity cost, Mr Hunt pointed to the repeal of the carbon tax, which he described as "designed to be an electricity tax."
Doing away with carbon pricing, he added, would enable the federal government to place a lid on the upward movements of electricity cost in Australia.
"(The carbon tax) is always on top of other things, but that makes it the worst possible tax at the worst possible time," Mr Hunt told The Australian on Tuesday while acknowledging too that the levy on generators on pollution was not the sole mover of electricity costs.
The Coalition found an ally on NSW Energy Minister Chris Hatcher, who reminded Ms Gillard today that the solution to the problem she was purportedly targeting was simple enough: Get rid of the carbon tax.
"If the Prime Minister wants to help battling families ... then the remedy is in her hands - repeal the carbon tax," Mr Hatcher told ABC.
He offered the assessment furnished by the Independent Pricing Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), which "has determined the prices for the average family in (NSW) will rise by $315 per year simply because of the federal government's carbon tax."
Mr Hatcher, however, has expressed willingness on the part of NSW authorities to discuss with Canberra viable ways that would provide more affordable electricity to consumers.
On the other hand, the Queensland government assailed Ms Gillard for acting a bit late on the matter, with Mark McArdle, the state's electricity minister expressing disbelief that "after almost five years in government, the prime minister suddenly decides she must act to do something when she should have acted years ago."
In interview with ABC, the state's electricity czar directed this question to the Labor government: "If it is a matter of the states being at fault, why didn't (Ms Gillard) challenge Anna Bligh when she was premier? For all those years she sat back and did nothing."
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