The worst fears of Queensland farmers have been realised with the state’s Competition Authority saying electricity prices should increase by up to 20 per cent.

This proposed increase will come on top of the estimated 15 per cent hike in tariffs from Juliar Gillard’s carbon dioxide tax, due to start on July 1.

Unfortunately Queensland farmers who blindly backed the Liberal Party in its decimation of the ALP at the March election, will now pay the price of the Liberal’s market deregulator, the Competition Authority.

This bureaucratic hallmark of Liberal free market thinking has removed the once unassailable market force of the family farm network, which now is close to extinction thanks to 20 years of ALP and Liberal National Party laissez-faire policies.

The Authority says in determining prices for 2012-13 it’s taken into account an increase in the underlying cost of energy for small customers of around 43 per cent, primarily due to the carbon tax and increases in network charges for Ergon and Energex.

Tariffs available to non-residential power users have been rationalised and those that remain will rise by either ten or 20 per cent.

Both the Queensland Farmers Federation and Canegrowers say the price rises will be a big blow to the state’s $14 billion agricultural sector.

Canegrowers says 70 per cent of its members irrigate and the lobby group fears that the power price increases on top of proposed water price rises will force some people from the land.

However the QFF says it has had one win – the Authority retaining a night irrigation tariff for at least one more year.

The so-called farm lobby groups such as Cane Growers, QFF and Agforce lobbied hard for the election of the Liberals, now to find their blind adherence to this urbanised party will ultimately undermine and destroy their members’ prosperity and primary production as Queenslanders have known it.

– ABC Radio and Robert J Lee