NSW Opposition Leader and Auburn MP Luke Foley discusses rising electricity costs with Leaf Cafe owner Simon Park inside the Auburn Power Centre.
THE State Government's budget might be in the black but business and family budgets are taking a hit thanks to sharp rises in electricity costs.
Pledging to re-regulate electricity companies, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley visited local business owner Simon Park from the Leaf Cafe at Lidcombe who said there wasn't much he could do to reduce the use of power in the cafe without it impacting on his customers.
"We have to keep the lights on and all the equipment working," Mr Park said.
"The only thing I can do is cut some shifts for staff. All the bills, rent and electricity, are all going up.
"[The Government] should give businesses a discount so they can do more business and then they will pay more tax."
Mr Foley laid the blame for high energy costs firmly at the feet of the Liberal Government and said the Government had done everything it could to drive the price up ahead of privatisation.
"Households will have to find up to an extra $320 and small businesses an extra $915," he said.
"For small businesses it's a double whammy – fewer people going out for coffee, and coffee shops like this one facing larger costs to stay afloat. It's just not fair.
"We will re-regulate the electricity companies to ensure people are treated fairly. Electricity prices have skyrocketed under this State Government and their only answer is more privatisation."
Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Adam Searle said the Liberals and Nationals promised that privatisation and deregulation would reduce power bills, but both measures have only driven up costs.
"When markets fail to deliver fair outcomes, people expect government to step in," he said.