READER'S VIEW: Labor forgetting Qld’s past power problems
THE state's Auditor-General has rightfully given a condemning appraisal of the Palaczszuk government's effort at debt reduction. I refer to his statement with regard to the state electricity industry in particular.
The plan to shift debt off the State Budget by raking $1 billion off state-owned assets such as Ergon and port authorities thus forcing them to borrow and to reduce quality of services was tried by the Beattie government with devastating consequences in the early 2000s.
These consequences became evident when there was a severe storm season in 2003 and 2004 in south-east Queensland when thousands of homes were left without power for extended periods of time. Ergon no longer had the capacity to carry out repairs in a timely way. There had been line maintenance deficiencies and emergency parts were not held in stock preventing power reinstatement.
Of course at the time there was public outrage and a contrite "Power Point Pete" as the Premier was then popularly labelled was forced to give one of his famous apologies and to promise this situation would never again arise. There was also an immediate rash of resignations of Labor heavies from the board and the organisation was put on a more businesslike footing.
However, a lasting consequence of this episode has been a constant rise of electricity prices and now power costs in Queensland are among the very highest in Australia.
By ignoring Peter Beattie's promise it would seem that Labor's corporate memory is no better than that of a goldfish and they expect the same from the citizens of Queensland.