The federal treasurer has warned there is no quick solution to Australia’s spiraling energy prices, following warnings gas supplies could be cut amid a wave of polar winter temperatures.
The next 24 hours are set to be particularly cold along Australia’s east coast, but more than 100 gas suppliers in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania could be forced to shut down supply due to shortages.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was a “perfect storm” of factors contributing to another cost of living escalation.
“It is important to recognize that there is not kind of one measure that can fix this overnight,” Chalmers told Today.
He said a longer-term solution would involve injecting “some certainty” into the energy market and providing effective, clean and cheaper power.
“The more immediate options will obviously be part of a discussion with the companies and with the relevant ministers as well and I don’t really want to pre-empt those discussions,” he said.
He pledged the government was already working to address the issue, but said it would be “difficult” to guarantee domestic gas supply at the expense of export volumes.
Given the dire situation, the Australian Energy Market Operator has for the first time invoked an emergency supply guarantee mechanism on gas producers.
And there are calls from manufacturers and consumer groups for the federal government to intervene to curb soaring power bills.
Meanwhile, the icy blast across the nation’s south-east is set to continue.
Australia ushers in first day of winter with heavy snow fall
Parts of Queensland are today bracing for one of the coldest days of the year.
Damaging wind gusts are easing but a frost warning has been issued across most of Victoria as temperatures in some areas dip as low as -2C.
In NSW the focus has turned to dangerous surf conditions along the coast.
And there’s no end coming swiftly, with meteorologists warning of another Antarctic cold front set to sweep across South Australia through Victoria and into NSW after this one has passed.