5 April 2024

Energy bill relief likely to be extended in Federal Budget

| Chris Johnson
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has indicated more energy bill relief for households and small businesses. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Anthony Albanese has flagged more energy bill relief for households and small businesses in next month’s Federal Budget.

Addressing the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) national summit in Sydney on Thursday (4 April), the Prime Minister gave his government a pat on the back for what it had already done to help offset energy bills.

He then intimated more of the same was about to be handed down in the May budget, suggesting the Energy Price Relief Plan that kicked in last year would be extended.

“Our government understands that for small business – as for Australian families – energy bills remain a source of financial pressure,” he said.

“That’s why the Energy Bill Relief package I negotiated with the states and territories delivered up to $650 in savings for around one million small businesses, along with five million families.

“And it’s why we created the Small Business Energy Incentive. A new tax deduction to help any business with a turnover of under $50 million invest in energy efficiency and storage, such as upgrading to more efficient appliances or installing batteries and heat pumps.”

He said helping Australian families and small family businesses with their energy bills was a key priority in last year’s budget.

“It helped people under pressure – and it helped fight inflation.

“And as we put together next month’s budget, small businesses and families will again be front and centre in our thinking.”

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Labor introduced the Energy Price Relief Plan to help Australian households and businesses “facing unacceptable energy price rises because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and shield them from “the worst impacts of price increases” to provide immediate help with power bills.

When first announcing the plan, the Prime Minister said it would take action to limit gas and coal prices, provide targeted energy bill relief for households and businesses, and invest in cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy for the future.

“We are experiencing sustained and unprecedented pressure on global energy markets,” he said when introducing the plan in December 2022.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is pushing energy prices to historic highs all over the world.”

Mr Albanese’s speech to the COSBOA summit this week hinted that the temporary measure would continue into the next year.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to spruik the benefits of solar energy to his audience – and couldn’t resist a swipe at Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, who the day before had told the conference nuclear energy was the future.

“Solar power is a smart investment that delivers an important return to businesses on tight margins,” Mr Albanese said.

“You heard from the Opposition Leader yesterday about his plan to have a plan to build nuclear reactors somewhere up and down the east coast, sometime before 2050 at a cost somewhere in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

“Our government, like you, is focussed on what works and focussed on what will make a difference here and now, as well as deliver for the long term.

“Solar power is reliable, fast and affordable, and all the more so when combined with storage.

“One in three small businesses with solar is a great start and I’m confident that with the right investments and support and the continuing advances in technology, that number will continue to rise.”

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The Prime Minister began his address by praising the nation’s small business sector and stressing the need for the nation to be competitive internationally.

“Every advanced economy in the world is competing for a new generation of jobs, investment, prosperity and productivity,” he said.

“And every advanced economy is grappling with the challenges of global inflation, the long tail of the pandemic, the uncertainty of conflict and the transformative impact of new technologies.

“For Australia to compete and succeed in this environment, we need to show the dynamism and drive of small business. The resourcefulness to anticipate change – and shape it. And we need to show the courage and ambition you demonstrate every day.

“The courage to invest in new ideas and new industries, the ambition for our people and our products to win in the world.

“This is what I mean when I talk about a future made in Australia.

“Investing in our economic self-reliance and lifting our nation up the international value chain.

“Powering new jobs with clean energy, driving new productivity with digital technology.

“And building a more resilient, competitive and diversified economy, fully engaged with the opportunities of the Indo-Pacific, the fastest-growing region in the world in human history.”

Original Article published by Chris Johnson on Riotact.

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