The cost of living in regional Queensland is definitely an election issue, says Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter.
“Rising costs of electricity, food and fuel are really impacting negatively on the people of this electorate, and if asset sales go ahead, it is only going to get worse,” Mr Katter said.
Although the price of oil has dropped from $148 a barrel, to $48 a barrel, consumers in Mount Isa are seeing no drop in the price of petrol or diesel.
“Consumers in the south east corner are only paying $1.10 per litre for unleaded petrol, whereas we’re still paying around $1.43 per litre here.”
Mr Katter said some margin is needed to cover the costs of running a regional service station, the lower fuel volumes and shop sales, and consideration needed to be given to the cost of freight and distribution, which could be as high as 11c per litre, according to the RACQ’s Fair Fuel Price Fact Sheet.
“But we are looking at a difference of around 33c per litre, and I think the consumer deserves an explanation as to why these margins are so large.”
The best long-term solution to high fuel costs, which would cost the State virtually nothing, would be an ethanol mandate which was cheap all around the world, Mr Katter said.
“KAP has produced an ethanol mandate bill, which would ensure cheaper, cleaner fuel for Queensland, once the industry was established, as well as ensuring thousands of jobs for Queenslanders and diversification for cane and grain farmers.”
Mr Katter warned that fuel costs would rise, along with food and other commodities if the ports were privatised as part of the LNP’s asset sales plan.
“Everything will go up in price, for the consumer, the grazier, for miners and small businesses.”
Mr Katter also said electricity prices would rise under privatisation.
“At the moment, we are heavily subsidised out here in the North West.
“Under privatisation, who knows what we will be paying for our power, and again that will affect everybody.”