“Every single person will feel that pain, every voter will remember.”
That was the message on the recent energy price hike to NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet from a Mudgee region business leader this week.
While visiting the region with his children for the school holidays, Mr Perrottet agreed to attend a dinner on Tuesday organised by Dubbo MP Troy Grant and the Mudgee Chamber of Commerce.
During a two-hour question and answer session with the community topics ranged from the local hospital redevelopment, payroll tax and the elusive Mudgee art gallery.
But the last question seemed to be the clear crowd-pleaser – “You need to articulate what you’re doing about energy prices. I think the rise is going to bring you unstuck, in the next three months, 12 months, this pain is really going to ripple through the community.”
A price hike of between 16 and 20 per cent in NSW came into effect on July 1. It will cost households an estimated $6.15 a week extra for electricity and an extra 95c a week for gas.
Mr Perrottet agreed the cost of living “is by far the biggest issue” for the government.
But, he said “anyone looking around the country will see that energy prices are not unique to NSW, they are a national issue”.
“The best way to address this is with a national response, which we will be engaged in, and importantly from a political perspective we need to be involved in that narrative because our opponents are the ones now claiming the moral high ground.”
Mr Perrottet said energy prices “are something we should be looking at because it’s the right thing to do, not simply because it’s going to help us politically”.
“Our position will always be to do the best for the state.”
Mr Grant said the community is “sick of [politicians] passing the buck”.
“So we’ve got a real conundrum because people don’t differentiate between Federal and State and often local politics”.
“They don’t care, they just want us to fix it,” he said.
“The amount of phone calls I get to fix footpaths or to fix the reception on your TV and phone coverage. I have no control over those things, but the expectation from the community is that as the member I can influence that at minimum, and I really can’t.
“We have to simplify the message so that the community understand it because if we don’t, we know what we’re going to get,” Mr Grant said.