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New government’s first item in the too hard basket – power prices

The new Albanese Government has conceded there’s no short-term solution to the pain of rising power bills for households already dealing with broader cost-of-living spikes.

Jun 01, 2022, updated Jun 01, 2022
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles speaks to media. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles speaks to media. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Power retailers have been warning bills will rise from July in line with higher prices in wholesale energy markets.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles acknowledged energy costs were a real challenge for families.

“We’ve got a cost-of-living crisis in this country … and we have got a real issue with power prices,” he told Nine Network on Wednesday.

“That’s the legacy of having had a decade under the Liberals where they haven’t had a consistent energy policy.”

Marles said rising power prices were not something that could be immediately resolved before pointing to Labor’s plan for household relief in the form of more affordable childcare and its support for a minimum wage rise in line with the rate of inflation.

“It is a challenge short term so we are not pretending that there is an immediate answer,” he said.

“We need to start … having a settled policy in relation to energy policy and getting our grid up to a modern standard where it can take on renewables, which are cheaper.”

On Tuesday, regional households and businesses in Queensland were warned their electricity bills would jump on the back of high demand, plant outages and higher coal and gas prices.

The Queensland Competition Authority will allow power retailers outside the suburban southeast to lift typical residential electricity bills by $119 to $1290 and business bills by $215 to $2334 in 2022/23.

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