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Australians set to get $280 cash for help with power bills, cost of living

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Households could secure a $280 rebate providing temporary relief for soaring energy prices under a deal being thrashed out at national cabinet.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is urging state premiers to use Friday’s meeting to thrash out a price cap for the industry and other measures to provide families with cost relief.

“We’ve said that we will act and we will act before Christmas,” Mr Albanese said.

“And I don’t think that there is a premier or chief minister who will sit back and say, ‘Yep, this is all OK’, for prices to continue to rise and projections which are there.”

The price relief would likely be delivered through a reduction in power bills when they are sent out to households.

It’s not clear how much the rebate will be in each jurisdiction but The Australian reports today it could be as much as $280 for households in NSW.

The temporary rebate would be on top of existing energy rebates already offered in NSW and Queensland for low-income families.

The national cabinet meeting is being held virtually after Mr Albanese contracted Covid for a second time and was forced to isolate, prompting him to postpone the meeting earlier this week.

The quid pro quo for energy rebates is that the federal government funds them and the states distribute them but the catch is that NSW and Queensland cap coal prices.

NSW’s treasurer and energy minister, Matt Kean, told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday that he was “almost ready to sign up” to a price cap on coal in exchange for an energy rebate for consumers.

The coal price is a big factor in the wholesale price of electricity.

“We did ask for financial assistance to support families and businesses as a result of us doing what we need to do to support our country to lowering energy prices,’’ he said.

“It’s not about royalties, it’s all about consumers.”

Retail prices of electricity and gas have increased by 10–15 per cent since the middle of the year.

The RBA predicts much of this effect to come through in the December quarter CPI.

“Since then, however, we’ve learned that larger electricity and gas price increases than previously assumed are now likely in 2023,’’ the RBA said last month.

Read related topics:Anthony Albanese

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