The Greens will oppose any compensation for coal companies affected by proposed price caps under a national plan aimed at curbing skyrocketing energy prices.
- Parliament to consider a government package to reduce power costs
- Mr Bandt says the Greens “want more money to go to households”
- The Coalition describes the plan as a “monster in the making”
Parliament will be recalled on Thursday to consider a government package agreed to at national cabinet last week designed to reduce power costs.
It includes $1.5 billion dollars in federal funding for bill relief for some eligible households and businesses, while the price of gas will be capped at $12 a gigajoule for the next 12 months, and states will move to cap coal prices at $125 per tonne.
The Coalition has described the plan as a “monster in the making” that would be a disaster for the economy and gas and coal producers.
Greens leader Adam Bandt has vowed to fight any plan that would provide compensation to fossil fuel companies, following reports the Commonwealth could spend up to $500 million compensating coal producers in New South Wales and Queensland that are impacted by the new price cap.
“The greedy coal and gas corporations should be compensating people, not the other way around,” Mr Bandt said.
“The Greens will fight any moves to compensate coal and gas corporations, and push for more support for everyday people instead.”
Mr Bandt said his party is yet to see the full details of the legislation and would reach a formal position on the bill at a party room meeting on Tuesday.
“The Greens want more money to go to households, renters and businesses, including to get off gas, switch to electric appliances and install batteries,” he said.
“People need more support than the government is offering.
“Without a plan to get people off gas, the price pain will start up again as soon as Labor’s temporary cap ends and we’ll be back here in 12 months’ time.”
Shadow Energy Minister Ted O’Brien said the plan would “fail” and the solution is increasing gas supply.
“The legislation that I read yesterday, while its yet to go through shadow cabinet, yet to go through the partyroom, I think is a disaster,” Mr O’Brien said on Sky News.
“It is a monster in the making because not only will it fail in the short term, it is going to have a disastrous affect on the industry over the long term because it kills supply.
“They’ve had six months to come together with a package, and all we see today is a cobbling together of manic thought bubbles presented as one comprehensive package and it’s not, it will fail.”
Energy Minister Chris Bowen accused the Coalition of siding with large gas companies over smaller Australian businesses which risked closure if soaring prices were not addressed.
“Ninety-six per cent of gas last year sold for under $12,” Mr Bowen told Sky News.
“The average price was $9.20 a gigajoule and for anybody to argue that they need to be able to make more than $12 and double that is just ridiculous.
“This is Australian gas under Australian soil and Australians should pay a fair price for that. But they shouldn’t be paying a wartime price.
“There would be businesses that would close next year because they couldn’t afford these gas prices.”
Without the support of the Coalition, the government will need the backing of the Greens and one other crossbencher to get the changes through the Senate.
Independent Senator David Pocock is yet to see the details of the legislation but said short term measures to address the cost-of-living crisis are necessary.
“From the high-level information available, the proposed changes do not appear to address the underlying problem – our exposure to volatility in the international market to fossil fuels,” he said in a statement
“This crisis underscores the urgent need to transition to clear energy and electrify our households as soon as possible. We need to get on with the job now.”