An electric car gets charged at a supermarket carpark in Sydney, Australia on Nov 9, 2021. (MARK BAKER / AP)
SYDNEY – Australia is set to pass legislation on Thursday to introduce domestic price caps on coal and gas for a year after the ruling Labor party announced the Greens would back the law in exchange for funds to support electrification.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said on Wednesday that given a deal with the Greens the government had the numbers to pass its energy price control legislation when parliament reconvenes for a special session on Thursday.
"The Albanese government struck an arrangement across the parliament to ensure our legislation has passage through the parliament tomorrow," Bowen said at a news conference.
The move to put a cap on gas and coal prices, announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last week, comes amid soaring energy prices largely due to Russia's special military operation in Ukraine that has resulted in windfall profits for miners and gas producers
"The legislation we will deliver tomorrow will ensure that the energy price rises we're seeing right around the world … have the sting taken out of the tail when it comes to Australians."
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The federal government has committed to working with the Greens to develop measures to help households and businesses transition from gas to electric, Greens party leader Adam Bandt said at a separate media conference earlier.
Bowen said details of the "substantial package" would be developed ahead of next May's budget and would include a role for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. He declined to provide further details.
The move to put a cap on gas and coal prices, announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last week, comes amid soaring energy prices largely due to Russia's special military operation in Ukraine that has resulted in windfall profits for miners and gas producers.
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Parliament will vote on Thursday to cap gas prices at A$12 ($8.19) per gigajoule and coal prices for power producers at A$125 per tonne.
Short-term gas prices on Australia's east coast averaged A$26 in the third quarter, data from research group EnergyQuest shows. The export benchmark Newcastle coal futures for December hovered just over $400 per tonne on Tuesday.
Heavy machinery moves coal as it is poured onto a stack near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, Australia, Nov 2, 2021. (MARK BAKER / AP)
The legislation will also include provisions opening the door for new regulations that will dictate a "reasonable price" for gas sales to domestic buyers after the price cap expires.
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The Labor government has a majority in the parliament's lower house but needed the support of the Greens in the Senate.
The Greens had said it would oppose the bill if it included proposals to compensate companies for any revenue loss from the price cap. Albanese has said the legislation would not contain any clauses on compensation.