Australia news LIVE: Energy industry furious over Labor’s proposed price caps; Bruce Lehrmann considering sit-down TV interview

Key posts

  • ‘We’re talking about ongoing regulation’: Gas boss sounds alarm on price cap bill
  • Lehrmann considering sit-down TV interview
  • ‘Declaration of war’: Energy industry furious over government’s price caps
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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‘We’re talking about ongoing regulation’: Gas boss sounds alarm on price cap bill

The chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Samantha McCulloch, was on the ABC’s RN Breakfast earlier.

Here’s what she had to say about the temporary gas price cap that Labor wants to put in place when parliament is recalled this week:

Samantha McCulloch, the chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.Credit:Jeremy Piper

Let’s just be clear that the prices we’re seeing in the domestic market are much significantly lower than export prices. The gas industry, like other parts of the economy, we want to see relief for Australian households. We want to see relief for vulnerable manufacturers. But the reforms that we saw announced on Friday evening will ultimately make the situation worse.

The key to bringing prices down will be more supply. What’s actually driving the high prices at the moment is tightness in the market in terms of supply, as well as domestically where there’s volatility in terms of the demand for gas, particularly from the power sector. What we need to do to put sustained downward pressure on prices is bringing on more supply. But the reforms that were announced on Friday evening will do the opposite of that. They are far reaching and represent a dismantling of the gas market that will have a chilling effect on the investment needed to bring on that new supply. So, ultimately, it’s going to make the situation worse for those Australian households and Australian manufacturers.

There is also a regulated price now introduced into a mandatory code of conduct that is indefinite. So we’re not just talking about a temporary price cap. We’re talking about ongoing regulation of prices in the gas market. And this is of considerable concern to the industry and to other commentators.

Lehrmann considering sit-down TV interview

Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann has spoken with at least two television networks about conducting a sit-down interview in what would be his first public comments after ACT prosecutors dropped a charge against him over the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins.

Multiple media sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no plans are finalised, said Lehrmann has held initial talks with Nine Entertainment Co and Seven West Media about being interviewed over the alleged assault in Parliament House in March, 2019.

Bruce Lehrmann: In talks with networks about a sit-down interview.Credit:Rhett Wyman

The sources said the talks are in the early stages and there is no guarantee an interview will go ahead. A spokesperson for Lehrmann declined to comment.

Read the full story here.

‘Declaration of war’: Energy industry furious over government’s price caps

A federal bid to control the price of gas has sparked a furious response from energy producers who fear an open-ended regime that lasts beyond the temporary price cap unveiled late last week, with analysts claiming the Labor plan is a “declaration of war” on the industry.

The energy industry is mobilising against a long-term “reasonable price provision” after seeing the proposal in a Treasury consultation paper issued late on Friday after a national deal to impose price caps on coal and gas.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced a cap of $12 per gigajoule for gas and $125 per tonne for coal after a deal with state premiers to impose the controls on the domestic market, but the Treasury paper included further details that stung industry executives and analysts.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen has told gas producers to accept the new regime to govern the “Australian gas under Australian soil” because the industry has a social license that means it cannot expect to charge its high export prices in the domestic market.

More on this issue here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, December 12. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • The Albanese government’s gas price caps represent a “declaration of war” on the energy industry, according to business analysts. The prime minister will take questions on Radio National later this morning. Stay tuned.
  • Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann is considering a sit-down television interview.
  • One of the country’s biggest bulk billing medical centre chains systematically rorted Medicare over a number of years, leaked documents show.
  • Foreign Minister Penny Wong is leading a bipartisan mission to the Pacific today. Liberal senator Simon Birmingham is part of the delegation.
  • The majority of voters support an aged care pay rise. But people are less sure about using taxpayer dollars to fund a pay rise for the childcare industry.
  • In state news, Victorians who finished year 12 this year will receive their VCE results this morning. NSW students will receive their results later this week.
  • And in international news, a man accused of making the bomb that blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 is in custody in the United States.
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