Electricity prices on the agenda at Industry Summit
SKYROCKETING electricity prices are crippling the bank accounts of Banana residents and business owners.
The energy crisis has reached astronomical proportions, with household power bills in resource-rich Australia now higher than anywhere else in the world.
Debate continues to rage over how to solve Australia's energy woes, and who's to blame. It cost one former PM his job.
Banana has decided to tackle the issue head on next week when council hosts its 17th annual Industry Summit.
The summit was designed to promote economic development but in recent years has turned its focus to the discussion of key industries and resources - water, tourism and agriculture.
This time it's electricity and industry power brokers, experts, corporate executives, community leaders and concerned consumers will present options for the region's affordable, reliable and sustainable energy future.
Chairman of the Industry Summit organising committee, Banana Shire deputy mayor Warren Middleton, said power prices were an issue at the forefront of everyone's minds.
"Every day we hear people complain about how they're struggling to meet the cost of their electricity bills,” he said.
"It affects everybody - pensioners, families, farmers, irrigators, small businesses and corporates.
"The bottom line of this summit is 'How do we curtail the cost of electricity?'”
The impressive cross-section of well-credentialed guest speakers the summit has assembled promises a enlightening discussion.
Carl Duncan from meat-processing giant Teys will provide an agricultural perspective on managing resources efficiently.
Ergon pricing and tariff specialist Bonson Lam will break down retail electricity costs and decipher a residential power bill.
Climate change sceptic and author of Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Rip-Off, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne Ian Plimer, will add a touch of controversy when he presents his case for why global warming is a hoax.
Electrical engineer and hybrid technology consultant, Jeremy Tranter, will discuss the benefits of solar and why Queenslanders should pursue renewable alternatives.
Mr Middleton is himself a proponent of solar power and speaks from experience when advocating for the technology.
Regardless of which side of the fence you sit in this highly-charged debate, Mr Middleton said the summit would help inform the energy decisions of policy-makers and customers.
"I took up solar early in the piece. Back in 2012 I installed 24 panels on my roof,” he said.
"With the benefit of hindsight, that was a good move.
"I haven't paid electricity costs in six years.
"Either way, this a great opportunity for people to come and learn a bit about what they can do in their situation.”
The free Banana Shire Industry Summit is open to the public and will be held at the the Biloela Civic Centre Auditorium next Tuesday, October 16, from 9am, with a complementary lunch catered by celebrity chef Matt Golinski.
You can register your interest online, or phone 49929513.