The Australian Energy Regulator default market offer predicts a continued increase in wholesale power prices in NSW and Queensland over the next two years with small businesses to be hit by price hikes of up to 13% above inflation.
“Higher energy prices are hurting businesses and families alike,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.
“Soaring international energy commodity prices are pushing up wholesale prices, while small business profitability is set to be further squeezed in the coming months.
“Increasing energy costs impact all businesses. In particular, energy-intensive sectors, such as manufacturing, will be harshly affected by rising electricity and gas prices while petrol prices, which have jumped up again to over $2 a litre, are driving up freight and input costs.
“Surging energy prices will compound the existing inflationary pressures we’re seeing across the economy. With material and labour shortages at their most acute in almost 50 years, the increased cost of doing business is beginning to bite.”
Mr McKellar said pursuing action on climate change and energy security were not mutually exclusive.
“The benefits of boosting renewable energy production could not be clearer,” he said.
“The federal government has a strong mandate to implement its Powering Australia plan, stimulating greater investment in renewable capacity, modernising energy infrastructure and advancing the transition to a net-zero future. This was a key commitment by the new federal government which must be implemented as soon as possible."
The ACCI believes the best way to promote the planning and innovation that will underlie an efficient energy transition is through legislated bipartisan support.
“Energy costs must come down,” Mr McKellar said. “That’s the bottom line for business.”