By Peter Roberts
The federal government is continuing its agonising will it-won’t it approach to taking concrete action to rein in soaring energy prices which are hitting manufacturing companies hard.
Barely a day goes by without some minister or another – often industry minister Ed Husic – waving a big stick in public telling us that corporate greed in the gas sector has to be halted, but then concluding that energy companies will be given more time to do the right thing.
The government knows this approach will get us nowhere, but still it continues to talk loudly and carry a small stick, to paraphrase US President Theodore Roosevelt.
Today it was Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s turn to respond to Sabra Lane on ABC radio – was a temporary tax on thermal coal producers on the cards?
Albanese said: “Well, what we know is that we can’t just sit back and watch while energy prices go through the roof for households and for businesses.
“And that could undermine the manufacturing sector – it’s already placing extraordinary pressure on it.”
Albanese said the government was working through such issues in a cooperative way.
“But we need to acknowledge that there are extraordinary profits being made at the same time as the customers are really doing it tough.”
Asked gain about a temporary tax Albanese said that was not the government’s preference, but it was one of the issues being worked through.
“We’re working that through with departments, we’re working that through as well with states and territories.
“…But we also are working through constructively with the sector, and we’re hopeful of getting an outcome.
“We’ve said that our timeline is the end of this year, and that remains the timeline.”
So manufacturers hold your nerve, the government is aiming to take action at the end of the year…or maybe it isn’t.
Picture: Anthony Albanese