Harris hits out at Baird over energy and small business

SHADOW Small Business and Regional Development Minister David Harris has attacked Mike Baird's decision to mount a legal appeal against the determination of the Australian Energy Regulator as an assault on regional small business.

The Baird Government is appealing the AER decision that will deliver savings of $528 per year, or 11.9 per cent, in regional areas covered by Essential Energy, including Ballina and Lismore.

"By appealing the AER determination, the Baird Government is backing in higher power prices for small businesses - compounding high unemployment figures in regional NSW," Mr Harris said

"Each and every small business has to bear energy costs; the estimated savings of $528 will provide some much needed relief.

"Labor supports the AER determination because we know people are doing it tough and high energy prices put an incredible strain on business bottom lines.

"But Mike Baird is effectively reaching into the pocket of every café and retailer across Ballina and Lisamore and taking $528 more than the independent regulator thinks is necessary.

"Labor wants to cut power bills to help small business, but the Liberals simply don't.

"The Sydney centric Baird Liberal Government seems happy to preside over growing unemployment in Regional NSW.

"The Liberals have a chance to provide some much needed relief, but instead Mike Baird is happy to see small business pay more so he can sell the electricity network for a higher price.

"The community should be outraged that the Baird Government is treating them as a revenue raising cash cows for already profitable energy companies."

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