The Greens say Australia needs to take a leaf out of the UK’s books and demand coal and gas “giants” pay a windfall tax.
Leader Adam Bandt has renewed his push for the corporations to pay their “fair share” of tax, as the government looks to garner support for its emergency energy legislation.
Parliament has been recalled for Thursday, after the federal government struck a deal with the states for a plan to tackle the energy crisis.
If the legislation passes, gas would be capped at $12 a gigajoule and coal at $125 a tonne for 12 months which the government says would reduce bills by about $230.
The package would also include $1.5 billion in bill relief for eligible households and businesses.
The Coalition is unlikely to support the legislation, meaning the government needs to get the Greens and crossbenchers on side for it to pass the Senate.
Mr Bandt said while the Greens wanted to see more money in people’s pockets, he would find it difficult to support legislation that compensated coal and gas.
“It’s unsustainable for the government to keep letting these gas corporations take this country for a ride,” he told ABC News.
“In one year, 27 gas corporations brought in $27 billion of income and paid no tax. In many cases, they don’t pay for the gas they get out of the ground that the Australian people own – they get it for free.
“It’s time to take on the giants. And the idea we’re compensating coal corporations? Give me a break.”
Mr Bandt said the Greens were talking with the government “in good faith”, but wanted to see more assistance for households and businesses to get off gas and switch to renewables.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has been critical of the government’s plan to cap gas prices.
“The concern we have got is if you start restricting the supply of gas, that will only drive the price up, particularly when you have more demand in the marketplace,” he told the Nine Network.
“So what the government should be doing is putting more supply into the system, working with the companies – not against them, because I fear in this package that it’s going to actually drive prices up and you are seeing the response of companies now.
Mr Dutton made reference to Shell suspending its commitment to preventing shortfalls on the east coast, despite brokering the deal earlier this year.
“Shell is talking about restricting supply into the market. This is intervention … which is actually going to make it worse for families and small businesses,” he said.