Anthony Albanese to finalise energy relief package as ministers concede it will still be ‘tough’


Australians are going to be “doing it tough for a while”, the government has conceded, as the Prime Minister’s plan to ease soaring energy bills edges closer to being finalised.

Anthony Albanese will propose a package to state and territory leaders next week, after ongoing work with energy providers and the business sector to tackle the issue.

The Cabinet is understood to be considering a temporary subsidy.

But Government Services Minister Bill Shorten says it’s unlikely Australians will see their energy bills reduced by $275 – as the government promised in the lead up to this year’s election.

Electric bill charges paper form on the table
Camera IconEnergy bills have risen on average by 20 per cent in 2022, and will rise by a further 30 per cent next year. Credit: istock

“We’re doing everything we can to decrease energy bills. Of course, the promises were made before the election, before Putin invaded Ukraine – that’s certainly up-ended things,” Mr Shorten told the Nine Network.

“We’ve got nine years of denial and delay by our predecessors. The reality is energy policy has been kicked into the grass for a decade.”

When pressed on when Australians would see relief with their bills, Mr Shorten said: “It is going to be tough for a while, no doubt”.

Mr Albanese has been aiming at a Christmas deadline to finalise the government’s energy relief package, but pressure is mounting for the government to act sooner.

Energy bills have risen about 20 per cent over the year, and are predicted to rise another 30 per cent next year.

Camera IconPrime Minister Anthony Albanese says Cabinet will sign off on the plan before National Cabinet next week. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

On Monday, Mr Albanese said he wanted to make sure the government could make a difference.

“These issues are not simple because of the different ownership structures, because of the different sources of energy, because of different powers that exist between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, because of the interaction of the national energy market,” he said.

“These are complex issues. We are working them through.

“We want to make sure that we do make a difference.”

Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neil said the government was “going to help out” those struggling to turn their lights on.

“I have constituents in my electorate who will not turn the lights on, who are literally walking around in the dark because they can’t afford it,” she told Channel 7.

“We do not want that to be happening to Australians. The reasons for it are complicated and related to a whole bunch of things happening around the world … but something will be agreed with the states before Christmas.”

Cabinet will sign off on the national response ahead of next Wednesday’s national cabinet meeting.


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