Community Business

State of the nation: Power disconnections up 37 percent

If ever there was evidence needed that trading conditions are getting tougher, especially for general retailers and service industries who deal with the general public, the latest figures out of Queensland showing home power disconnections are manifold.

Home electricity cut-offs up 37 percent.

Community service organisations have new official figures showing Queensland electricity disconnections for non payment have risen 37 percent over the past year - with pensioners and concession card holders making up almost 18 percent of those disconnected. 

"That's a total of 24,598 residential customers disconnected in the past year for non-payment," according to Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) president Karyn Walsh.

"And 6 percent of those, or 1466 people, had their electricity cut off for more than a week before it was reconnected in the same name." 

Ms Walsh linked the increased disconnections to the spiraling cost of essentials. Over the past five years, the cost of essentials has risen well above the consumer price index of 19 percent: electricity (up by 63%), public transport (up by 48%), insurance (up by 40%), rent (up by 35%) and food (up by 23%). 

"But there are other issues that contribute," Ms Walsh said. "There is not enough support available and a lack of knowledge of the support that does exist.

"We also have to ask ourselves whether the electricity retailers are doing enough to comply with their obligations to identify people experiencing hardship early and proactively assist them. By July next year they will be subject to far more stringent national requirements and they should already be working towards meeting these standards. 

"People are entitled to expect retailers to provide assistance through hardship programs or payment plans. Those in difficulty should contact their electricity retailer early and not wait for disconnection," said Ms Walsh. 

"These figures are an indication that the current concessions framework isn't working well enough. While a complete review of the framework should be a long-term goal there are steps that can be taken immediately - like changing the current 'pensioner' concessions to ‘low-income' concessions that will apply to pensioners and all health care card holders. This is done in other states and is a far more equitable system." 

Full details of the disconnections are available at




World's top cricket umpire, Simon Taufel, gives ‘out' on sport, business at SW Chamber charity event

Simon Taufel, widely regarded as the world's best cricket umpire, will make a special appearance at Queensland's South West Chamber of Commerce charity breakfast in Brisbane on September 30.

Simon Taufel

Mr Taufel's views on the current state of world cricket - and his chilling story of being caught in the March 3, 2009, terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan - are expected to attract a record crowed to the event being staged at the Queensland Tennis Centre, Pat Rafter Arena, Tennyson.


Mr Taufel has been attracted to the South West Chamber of Commerce event to help launch The Jonathan Foundation (TJF) which is a new concept in lifestyle accommodation for adults who live with an intellectual disability. TJF is a local charity adopted by the South West Chamber of Commerce. Rare items of sporting memorabilia will be auctioned by compere and Radio 4BC broadcaster, Peter Psaltis, at the event to assist TJF.

Simon Taufel is widely regarded as currently the best cricket umpire in the world and he rarely makes appearances of this kind. In his discussions, Mr Taufel will not only share great moments in cricket, he will also speak about the disciplines that apply to both business and sport. He will also provide insights into his way of staying at the top and at the forefront of international cricket umpiring.

Simon Taufel is a member of the ICC Elite umpire panel. He won five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards between 2004 and 2008.

Mr Taufel is the youngest person to have received the ICC's Bronze Bails Award for umpiring 100 One Day Internationals (ODIs), having made his first-class debut in 1995, aged just 24.  Mr  Taufel quickly proved himself to be an excellent decision maker, and stood in his first ODI on January 13, 1999 in the match between Australia and Sri Lanka in Sydney. He was just 28 years old; younger than some of the players.

After yet more impressive performances he was given the honour of standing in his first test match in December 2000 - the Boxing Day Test between Australia and West Indies at Melbourne. He became a member of the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires in 2002 and was then chosen to umpire at the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

His performances were sufficiently impressive to earn him a promotion to the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, the panel from which neutral umpires are chosen for test matches and ODIs.

Some people believe that Mr Taufel is the best umpire in the world, and in August 2006 in the ICC's annual umpire review he was officially ranked second for accuracy (behind Darrell Hair), and top overall. He is highly respected for his decision making ability, and is also highly regarded for his calm and positive on-field manner.

However, being so accurate for so much of the time does put additional pressure on him to perform, and after some poor decisions in a Test match between England and New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2004 he was branded ‘Awful Taufel' by the British press. He quickly recovered and went on to stand in the final of the 2004 Champions Trophy. He has also been appointed to several high profile India-Pakistan fixtures, in which he has performed superbly, and to the 2005 ICC SuperSeries, where Australia took on a Rest-of-the-World XI.

At the 2006 Champions Trophy he umpired a semi-final, but could not umpire the final because Australia had reached it.

In January 2007 he became the youngest umpire to stand in 100 ODIs, and in April 2007 took charge of the World Cup semi-final between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, again being ineligible for the final which featured Australia.

In late May 2008 Mr Taufel officiated in the 2nd Test match at Old Trafford, England v New Zealand with fellow Australian Darrell Hair. This was Mr Hair's comeback match after a long break.

After being caught in the deadly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, Mr Taufel, along with Chris Broad, strongly criticized the Pakistan security forces' response to the incident.

The September 30 event opens at 7am for a 7:30am start at the Queensland Tennis Centre Main Function Room, Pat Rafter Arena, 190 King Arthur Terrace, Tennyson, south of Brisbane.

Members are $55 per person and it is $65 per person for non-members.

Register online at



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