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Gas price cap on the table: Albanese

Masterchef has always utilised gas stoves.

Masterchef has always utilised gas stoves. Photo: AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese admits Australians need relief on soaring energy prices and says a price cap on gas is one option on the table as his government seeks solutions.

Mr Albanese on Friday brushed off speculation about a super profits tax on gas and thermal coal and doubled down on renewables as the nation’s long-term path to cheaper energy prices and lower carbon emissions.

Asked if the government would introduce a gas price cap, the prime minister said it was under consideration.

He dismissed reports the government would implement a “mining tax”, labelling it a slogan, but admitted taxing gas and thermal would form part of discussions about “sensible measures” that could relieve Australian households.

“All sensible measures remain on the table. We’re working these things through including talking with industry themselves,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.

“But we need to provide relief … you have extraordinary profits being made at the same time as households and businesses, particularly manufacturing, are under pressure.”

Mr Albanese reiterated Australia’s commitment to renewable energy and dismissed suggestions it wouldn’t be the cheapest path forward, saying “every economist in Australia” agreed with that sentiment.

“There has been nothing to stop investment (in coal and gas). The market has spoken,” he said.

“You have a shortfall in the market as a direct result of the failure of the former government, which is why the business community is saying very, very clearly across the board … they all welcome the new government policy on these issues, which is aimed at providing that investment certainty.”

Mining Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said any proposed tax on the coal and gas industry would be “perverse”.

“It’s a very short-term fix, not sensible to put at risk our investment in Australia, our jobs in Australia and what industries are doing with communities,” she told Sky News.

“It’s not sensible for the government to put another big tax on an industry that’s been holding up the economy for quite some time.”

October’s budget revealed Treasury expects electricity bills to soar by a combined 50 per cent in the next two financial years.

Senior Treasury officials told Senate estimates this week they backed government intervention in energy markets to try to bring prices down.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said it is not investigating a super profits tax on gas companies.

The government’s energy price plan is expected to be released by the end of the year.

– AAP

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