Community protests bill pressure

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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A petition protesting proposed electricity price increases has been doing the rounds in Hedland.

The Port Hedland Ratepayers Association began the petition, in what they say is an effort to reduce the financial burden high electricity bills are having on local families.

Association spokesman Arnold Carter said that with all the hardships people in the Pilbara had to deal with, yet another expense increase was not fair, especially as air conditioning was essential for people living in the Pilbara.

“Down south others have a choice of going to another supplier, up here there is no other choice,” he said.

“It’s not just unfair for the people who are on pensions and sick who must be home all day with the air-conditioning on, but (for) the small businesses. It’s a bloody big shock.”

The petition, which has more than 700 signatures already, comes after Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said he could not rule out a significant price hike for WA residents.

Mr Wyatt told The West Australian, he was trying to strike a balance between reducing pressure on the Budget and not hurting consumers.

Mr Carter said the association wanted to see funds allocated to Pilbara residents during the summer months to offset the 10 per cent increase predicted.

“I would like to see a concession allowance ... which would be equal to that 10 per cent increase,” he said.

“So we remain on a flat level and that 10 per cent is absorbed by that reduction.”

The association has extended the petition’s deadline in an effort to reach 1000 signatures before sending it to Premier Mark McGowan’s office.

To sign the petition, residents can contact Mr Carter at the Port Hedland Ratepayers Association.

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