Australia's energy market operator is set to be handed new powers to purchase and store gas to help avoid shortages, under a plan energy ministers agreed at an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
Regulators have also been instructed to fast track the design of a so-called "capacity mechanism", which would use incentives to keep the energy system reliable amid the transition to renewables.
The model pushed by the former government Coalition was dubbed "coal keeper" by its critics, who were concerned it would be used to prolong the lifespan of unprofitable coal-fired power stations.
Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen said ministers had endorsed an approach which would support new technologies, such as renewables and storage.
He stressed the expert Energy Security Board would lead the design of the mechanism, before it was released for public consultation.
The step was among 11 measures which Mr Bowen and state and territory energy ministers agreed to at an emergency meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
The meeting came as the Albanese government was urged not to rule out using the threat of a "super-profits" tax to pressure gas companies to keep prices affordable, amid warnings factories would close and thousands of jobs lost without urgent action to shield the manufacturing sector from the deepening energy crisis.
The Australian Workers' Union has doubled down on calls for a UK-style windfall tax to be considered as an option to ensure plants and factories can access affordable gas, after Labor shot down the idea.
Mr Bowen has stressed there are no simple or short-term solutions to a problem being blamed on a combination of international factors including the war in Ukraine, disruptions at local coal-fire power stations and a near decade of policy uncertainty under the previous Coalition government.
The workers' union has accused multinational gas companies of reaping "astronomical mega-profits" through exports while Australian manufacturers suffer surging from surging gas bills.
It wants the new Labor government to threaten exporters with a tax on profits unless it makes gas affordable to manufacturers.
"If the government refuse to pick up that stick now and get tough then gas exporters will bluster and delay and factories will close en masse," the union's national secretary, Daniel Walton, said.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Mr Bowen have moved quickly to rule out a new tax.
Mr Bowen said Australia was facing a different set of circumstances to the UK.
But Mr Walton has implored the government to at least keep the option on the table.
"Ruling it out at this point, when thousands of jobs in manufacturing are on the brink, is just premature," he told The Canberra Times.
The acting chief executive of Australia's peak oil and gas exploration lobby group, Damian Dwyer, dismissed the need for a new tax or further regulation of the sector.
Mr Dwyer said the focus should be on addressing the immediate cause of the problem; outages at coal-fired power stations and renewable power generation not increasing output when required.
"More than 800MW have come out of the system because of these problems and it is gas that has kept our energy secure through this period," he said.
"We are doing our bit by ensuring gas is getting to where it needs to be using the mechanisms in place, but we want to see other parts of the energy system do so as well."
Australian National University energy economics expert Paul Burke said Australia should move towards tax reform, delivering additional revenue back to the federal government from super profits made by natural gas companies.
However he said this should be part of broader corporate income tax reform, not only targeting the natural gas sector.
"Unfortunately, in Australia, we're not getting enough public benefit out of our natural gas exports, because the tax arrangements we have are pretty generous and these natural gas companies are now benefiting from super profits, but not sharing that commensurately back to the Australian people," Professor Burke said.
"It would be good for Australia to be moving towards some tax reform to make sure that windfall profits deliver suitable quantities of additional revenue back to the Australian government."
When asked about recent calls for a tax on gas company super profits, he said:
"I would prefer us to be looking at broader corporate income tax reform, not only for the natural gas sector, but more broadly, and it is possible to reform corporate income tax so that when there are instances of super profit, a higher tax rate is paid."