CCIQ: Rising power costs to affect regional businesses

THE rising cost of electricity is beginning to have a huge impact on regional businesses across Queensland according to state's peak business body.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland hosted a power forum for small businesses on Thursday at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre where rising electricity prices was one of the topics discussed.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland general manager Nick Behrens said the purpose of the forum was to inform small business about the future of electricity strategy in the state and give them a chance to voice their concerns.

"There is no doubt rising electricity prices continue to be a key challenge for Queensland's small business community and it was great to have speakers of this calibre give their time to address small business," he said.

"Minister McArdle acknowledged he was well aware of the difficulties facing small business, but said it must be a joint effort between government, industry and consumers to address the issue.

"Queensland business has become numb to the rhetoric on electricity price rises over the years and we are pleased to see this State Government's commitment to address the problem."

Mr Behrens said CCIQ would work with government, industry and other key stakeholders to ensure small business was represented in discussions about the future of energy in the state.

"One way small businesses can be part of this discussion is to contribute to CCIQ's submission to the 30-year energy strategy," he said.

"From the feedback we have received it is clear there are a number of concerns relating to electricity prices and the long-term reliability of the state's electricity infrastructure.

"These include price competitiveness, ensuring a reliable network, removing regulatory barriers and the potential for private sector involvement in bringing on line additional generation capacity within Queensland, particularly regional Queensland.

The forum's presenters included Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle, the Queensland Competition Authority's Malcolm Roberts and Department of Energy and Water Supply deputy director-general Karen Masnata.