Analysis and Commentary

The big Xmas news – the great schnitzel wars of 2023

Analysis and Commentary

By Peter Roberts

It is that time of the year when things slow down in the news world with this year’s prize so far going to the great schnitzel wars of 2023.

The fuss started when a publican – well it had to be a publican – in Adelaide channeled predictions of $100 legs of lamb with the dire warning that the ubiquitous schnitzel could soon cost $40 because of government action on climate change.

Seems the boss of the South Australian branch of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) David Basheer, conflated Victoria’s ban on new gas connections with the very real inflation being experienced by restaurant owners.

He told the group’s annual Christmas lunch, as reported in the local newspaper The Advertiser, that a phase-out of gas burners in commercial kitchens would see pub grub prices surge – or as he put it: “Natural gas is increasingly under siege.”

Basheer runs The Strathmore Hotel opposite SA’s Parliament House in Adelaide’s CBD and sells schnitzels for $24 a pop.

It is true that from January 1 2024, Victoria will prohibit new dwellings, apartments, and residential subdivisions requiring permits from connecting to the gas network.

No mention of commercial kitchens in Victoria, but nonetheless Basheer fears a slump in sales should he have to serve up his crumbed wonders cooked on an electric induction hob.

Nevermind that he’d save cash as an induction stove is three times more energy efficient than gas and 10 per cent more efficient than a traditional electric cooktop.

Always one to take the bait SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis took to social media and said: “SA will not be banning the schnitzel or new gas connections

“Natural Gas is essential for our decarbonisation plans and any pub bought schnitzel in an electrified kitchen in Victoria has a much larger carbon footprint than any SA pub.

“Why? Victorian coal.”

South Australia generates almost 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources with the rest coming from gas and imports from the eastern states.

With no coal fired power in the state, the schnitzel is set to remain an SA staple for a long time to come.

Picture: Strathmore Hotel

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