Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle 17.01.12 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, January 17 2012 - 8
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Queanbeyan resident Richard Cairns has struggled to pay his electricity bills since prices rose six months ago. Picture: Elesa Lee
Bill spike hurts consumers
THE region's most vulnerable are
doing it tough six months after
electricity prices soared across
Queanbeyan resident Richard
Cairns -- a Country Energy con-
sumer -- said his electricity bill
had risen by more than
18 per cent since July 1 last year.
"I have money that I originally
budgeted myself," he said.
"There is no way in the world
that I can live within that budget
"Electricity is the biggest
impact on the budget for sure."
The Independent Pricing and
Regulatory Tribunal released the
new electricity prices that in-
dividuals and businesses would
be slugged in April last year
before they came into effect from
The Federal Government's
Renewable Energy Target
scheme was partly to blame for
the price hike, but Member for
Monaro John Barilaro said last
year a lack of investment in
infrastructure by the former State
Government was also to blame.
As a result EnergyAustralia
customers have been slugged an
increase of 17.9 per cent, Integral
Energy customers 15.5 per cent
and Country Energy customers
18.1 per cent.
Mr Cairns -- a self-funded
retiree who is not on a pension --
said he was not eligible for any
rebates available to other citizens.
These include discounts for
pensioners, war widows, those on
a disability pension or those who
hold a healthcare card.
As a result Mr Cairns is now
careful about how much elec-
tricity he uses.
"I don't leave the heater on," he
said. "I put a jumper on in the
Mr Barilaro said he was not
aware of any further compen-
sation the Government would
He said the Government was
determined to continue putting
downward pressure on the elec-
tricity costs, but it was in the
"I'm confident we're going to
be looking at whatever the rec-
ommendation is and making sure
it is affordable," Mr Barilaro said.
fixed by cross-border
From Page 1
He said there would be an appointment of a cross-
border commissioner in the future to help work through
and identify the issues.
''For us here being a border community ... having a
cross-border agreement is really the crux for getting it
right,'' Mr Barilaro said.
''If we get this right it really will change the way
health is delivered in this region.
''For the crux of it, for the foundation to be right, it
will benefit not just Queanbeyan, but the whole Monaro
Dr Hendry said there was huge scope for a range of
surgeries to be undertaken at the hospital, should an
agreement be reached.
''We may never be able to do cardiac surgery ... but
a tertiary hospital should be doing a heap of complex
surgery and a smaller hospital should be doing a heap
of simple surgery,'' he said.
''We've been calling on this for donkey's years to
''The doctors want to work with management on all
this and the nurses do too, but ... we're just completely
out of it these days, and the population is too.''
Dr Hendry believes a cross-border agreement may
not be the only solution to fixing the crisis and feels
more drastic action should be taken.
''One would think that the best thing -- which would
never happen -- would be the ACT to take over
Queanbeyan hospital,'' he said.
''We want Queanbeyan hospital functioning like any
other hospital of this size would if it could.
''Maybe we should be opening the border up and let
the ACT take us over.''
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