Quiggin on Burke’s power line fantasy

John Quiggin has undertaken a more detailed analysis of NT CLP Opposition Leader Denis Burke’s bizarre election campaign promise/proposal to build a power line from southern Queensland to Darwin. I discussed the proposal here. JQ’s analysis was published in today’s Australian Financial Review, but is reproduced here.

Burke’s power line promise seems to be an attempt to provide some vaguely plausible basis for his negative campaigning claim that electricity is “the most expensive in Australia” under the Martin Labor government. Of course that is true, but it was true under the previous CLP government as well. Both electricity and petrol have always been very expensive here, because of the remoteness and tiny population. In fact, the last significant rise in electricity charges was under Burke himself as Chief Minister in 2000! Presumably he’s punting on the fact that the NT population has a very high turnover rate, and hoping that with a bit of luck even some of those who lived here in 2000 might have forgotten! With just over a week until election day, we’ll soon find out.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Nic White
2021 years ago

Hes been talking to Colin Barnett for too long.

SJ
SJ
2021 years ago

Remoteness and tiny population don’t really enter into the equation. You don’t have coal. That’s the real cause of the price difference. NSW, Qld, Vic, WA have coal in abundance. SA and NT don’t. Electricity prices in SA and NT are higher, although SA’s situation is mitigated by the fact that it can buy in electricity from Vic. (Tas is a special case, it has plenty of water and so doesn’t need coal, or gas or oil for its electricity.)