Australian industry group warns of job losses from soaring power costs: report

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SYDNEY, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) — One of the leading Australian business lobbyists, Ai Group, has warned of nationwide job losses, as power prices skyrocket across the country.

The report released Tuesday also stressed not only would businesses suffer from the price increases, but also households, who will see the cost of electricity increase severely.

Of businesses surveyed in late 2016, over 51 percent were concerned about their costs, with prices expected to increase, with the cost of wholesale electricity rapidly getting higher.

Current price increases that are set to go through, were estimated to cost households an extra 3.6 billion dollars (2.76 billion U.S. dollars), while businesses are set for an 8.7 billion dollar increase in price.

One of the main concerns indicated in the report was the increase exportation of Australia’s LNG, which has created supply shortages domestically, with the state of New South Wales pegged to be affected by a gas shortage in the coming years.

In January 2017 alone, prices of LNG in Sydney increased by 23 percent, leaving businesses who rely on the commodity at risk.

Ai Group CEO Ines Wilcox said politically driven policy decisions being made regarding energy are troubling, with “partisan warfare” on the Federal level regarding renewables being a major concern.

“Achieving lower energy prices will not be easy: gas faces international price parity and rising production costs,” Wilcox said.

The Ai Group chief went on to say the findings “should be a warning siren to policy makers” and lead them to put jobs and cheap energy solutions above any political manoeuvring.

The report was conducted by surveying CEO’s from 285 different private entities across Australia, who together currently employ over 38 thousand workers.

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