Inflation sparks power price hike debate

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A two-decade high spike in inflation has reignited debate over power prices as the prime minister warns Australia isn't immune to international shocks.

Electricity prices went up 3.5 per cent over the year across the country, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, contributing to a overall CPI figure of 5.1 per cent.

Scott Morrison says the gas security mechanism is guaranteeing supply, which in turn, is keeping downward pressure on electricity prices.

"Guaranteed supplies from our domestic gas producers to Australia means we're not facing the international gas prices right now that others are around the world," he told reporters in Cairns on Thursday.

"That has enabled us to keep electricity prices down and keep the costs of gas feedstock into companies who are manufacturers and producers down."

Mr Morrison says gas prices when Labor was in power doubled, while the coalition has overseen a nine per cent drop in prices since he came to power.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers says Labor has the most comprehensive energy modelling of any opposition, and it predicts a $275 a year saving in power prices under their Powering Australia plan.

"Hopefully we can do even better than that, that is what the modelling says," he told reporters in Sydney.

"They (coalition) dropped the ball on this."

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce attacked Labor's policy to tighten the emissions cap in the safeguards mechanism, saying it will increase energy prices.

"(It) increases by reason of tax the price of what (mineral resources) goes on the boat, reduces the competitiveness and that has a real effect," he said.

The deputy prime minister acknowledged the impact inflation and high fuel prices were having on the cost of living while touring outer Brisbane electorates on Thursday, but wouldn't comment on extending fuel relief.

The government cut the fuel excise by 22 cents a litre in the budget for six months, which Mr Morrison says hasn't been accounted for in the recent inflation figures.

Mr Joyce says any extension of the excise cut - down from 44 cents a litre - would be a new spending decision that would need to go through the expenditure review committee.

"I never want to, sort of, flag future expenditure review committee meetings. Things are dynamic and they look at situations as they arrive," he said.

"You look at what global oil prices (are), you also look at the budgetary effects. You've got to make competent decisions. The popular answer would be 'Oh, yes, of course, we'll do that', but that's not being responsible with money."

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