Costs double: energy prices hurting butchers


“You’re probably looking at $225 a week, up to close to $500,” he says.

Constable says his business has been hit hard by energy tariffs, because unlike some other retail businesses he does not have a choice to lower power usage during off-peak times.

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Hutchinson says independent butchers are struggling because they are unable to pass on the dual costs of rising meat prices and bricks-and-mortar retail costs in their own stores.

“I think for small business, what we’re looking for is the recognition of that value chain and then what we can do most appropriately to keep this massive industry moving forward,” he says.

AMIC supports the idea of using renewables at a meat processor level to try to alleviate costs of production.

Hutchinson says there needs to be a small business energy blueprint that acknowledges the whole supply chain of businesses like butchers.

Both sides of politics have outlined their visions for small business energy policy should they win government.

The Coalition has championed its default market offer plan as a way of helping ensure smaller operators save close to $1,000 a year on power bills.

“The Energy Efficient Communities Program will provide $50 million in more than 2,500 grants to eligible businesses and community organisations to help them save energy by either installing new equipment or by reviewing and improving their energy management,” energy minister Angus Taylor said.

Labor has argued it will bring stability to energy policy for small businesses, including through a bipartisan national energy guarantee.

A Labor spokesperson said the party would look to help smaller operators with energy efficiency through its own $20 million grant fund for businesses to deliver energy efficiency improvements.

Meat retailers say they are in a more complex position because many rent premises and can’t easily upgrade equipment without landlord approval.

Constable says he hopes any future plan will acknowledge that some businesses don’t have the ability to decide when they use power.

“Instead of giving 20 or 40 per cent discounts off bills, I’d like to see retailers and the government look at time in use tariffs.”

Emma is the small business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald based in Melbourne.

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