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Solar users the champagne and latte sipping set: Tim Nicholls


Amy Remeikis

Treasurer Tim Nicholls has decribed Queenslanders who took part in Labor's solar bonus scheme as "champagne sippers and ...

Treasurer Tim Nicholls has decribed Queenslanders who took part in Labor's solar bonus scheme as "champagne sippers and the latte set".

Treasurer Tim Nicholls has described Queenslanders who took part in Labor's solar bonus scheme as "champagne sippers and the latte set", while labelling the program "middle class welfare".

In an attack on the opposition during parliamentary question time on Thursday, Mr Nicholls took a question from LNP MP Kerry Millard on "how the government is building on its strong plan for a brighter future".

He used the question to criticise Labor's economic track record and - encouraged by an interjection from the Premier who has solar panels on his home, but does not receive the 44-cent feed-in-tariff - turned into an attack on those who do.

"The only idea he [Curtis Pitt] has put forward in terms of dealing with anything of economic sense was to reintroduce the solar bonus did that work? It worked by adding $3 billion to the cost of power bills for Queenslanders to 2027-28," he said.

"Disgracefully, it worked to penalise those people who could least afford to install solar power.

"So those people who were paying for the middle class welfare that Labor was putting out there - for the champagne sippers and the latte set - with whom they hang around all the time in terms of making themselves feel good, but making the rest of Queenslanders pay for it."

Just under 285,000 households signed up to Labor's 44 cent feed-in-tariff scheme. Another 40,000 households received the 8 cent feed-in tariff until a recent legislation change, which means they will now have to negotiate directly with energy retailers.  

Lindsay Soutar, the National Director of Solar Citizens, a solar power lobby group, said the Queensland government was "demonising" solar users.

"We know that most households that installed solar have in fact been households on lower and middle incomes," she said. "That is because these folks are more sensitive to rises in power prices and solar is one of the best ways to take back control over power bills.

"So typically, it is the outer suburbs and people in regional areas, not the inner-city chardonnay set."

The Queensland Competition Authority recently announced the average home annual power bill would increase by another $200 in the next financial year.

Ms Soutar addressed a Queensland solar users forum in Brisbane overnight, discussing options to "go off the grid".

"The price of solar has just plummeted in the last five years, which is why it has become an affordable choice and that is something that continues to be attractive," she said.

"Which is why the big power companies and the Queensland government are so against solar, because essentially they can see why people are finding it so attractive, and looking for other options away from the big power companies."

252 comments so far

  • Here he goes again, trying to demonise another sector of our community in order to advance his own narrow political agenda. How many LNP supporters have solar panels? In fact, how many LNP politicians and party members would have solar panels? Nicholls will do and say anything to distract from his dismal budget, and particularly his performance in delivering it.

    Who's next for the LNP's invective?
    Date and time
    June 05, 2014, 8:38PM
    • Luddites. And not in a good way.

      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 8:14AM
    • Name-calling - the usual LNP pastime stright from the US Republican neocon handbook.
      Well here's a name for next March, Tim - the Ex-Treasurer of Queensland

      drovers cat
      an alleyway
      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 8:52AM
    • When they were in opposition the LNP were great supporters of the 44 cent feed-in-tariff and argued that it didn't go far enough.

      Some Guy
      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 8:57AM
    • Invective's what they know. I can always tell how the LNP is faring by the degree of snark issuing forth from one of their Facebook staffers. It's like a weather vane.

      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 9:39AM
    • Is there a good way to be a Luddite ??

      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 10:14AM
    • 1600 hours
      Brisbane Polo Club

      Col. Knuckles is at a special LNP-Army fundraising event disguised as an initiative to help struggling farmers entitled ‘Gate to Plate’.

      He is dressed oddly in a rubber red cape, horns and forked tail as he tries to demonise solar users.

      He lectures the world at large about the lazy, greedy, opportunistic, money-grubbing types who have the audacity to use the sun for their household energy – instead of spending their hard-earned to buy it from the government….

      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 10:31AM
    • The biggest thing being missed again is that this whole tarif fiasco was caused by Beattie and co, it was based on a lie,it has cost every tax paying queen slander hundreds of millions.the tarif encouraged people to get solar, yet those without solar were paying for it.beattie also promised that elec prices would go down,but they went up by over 100% in total! yet this debacle had no measurable effect on global temps?therefor a labor/ green policy that costs us possibly billions is now being blamed on the LNP . Wake up

      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 12:06PM
    • As opposed to the 'Champagne Sippers" in the parliamentary dining room perhaps?

      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 1:21PM
    • Excuse me while I put my latte down.

      This pack of morons are now attacking their own constituents which shows there absolute arrogance. They have managed to pee off the entire public service, the medical profession, the legal profession, the voters in Ashgrove are over Newman (I live there) and now the solar owners.

      Is there anyone left to vote for them?


      Latte Sipper
      Date and time
      June 06, 2014, 1:26PM

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