For the first time in almost 30 years, thousands of Western Australian small businesses are set to receive a real reduction in their energy bills.
Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said the reduction in small business tariffs announced in the Budget would mean that from November, many businesses would receive an energy bill which was actually lower than their previous bill.
Dr Gallop said the Government was able to provide the five per cent reduction in tariffs as the result of hard work by SECWA, the coal industry and coal industry unions.
"As a result of better work practices and management restructuring in SECWA and the coal industry, more than 80,000 Western Australian small businesses will be better off," Dr Gallop said.
"The latest tariff cut is another significant step towards the Government's overall aim of reducing energy tariffs by at least 25 per cent by the end of the decade.
"The Government acknowledges there is still a long way to go, but last year's two per cent increase and no tariff increase at all this year means that for the first time the gap in tariff charges between Western Australia and the Eastern States is being closed.
"Since 1984 energy prices under Labor have been held within the inflation rate. By contrast, the Liberal Government was not even able to keep electricity prices below the rampant inflation rate which was characteristic of its last years in power in the early 1980s."
Dr Gallop criticised the Opposition for refusing to acknowledge the efforts which had led to the latest round of tariff reductions.
"It is about time the Opposition gave credit where credit is due. With the support of the Government, the hard work of SECWA and the coal industry is paying dividends for all Western Australians," he said.