“We welcome the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) report on the east coast gas market, but caution against changes to pipeline access regulation,” Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said today.
“Affordable and reliable gas supply is essential to Australia’s energy security and economic growth. The report highlights the importance of natural gas as a major input to large industrial companies which provide jobs to thousands of Australians.
“Enabling the development of future gas supply from a diversity of sources will be critical for these industries in maintaining a competitive advantage in the future.
“We strongly support the ACCC’s recommendations to avoid policies that restrict supply, like reservations and moratoria on exploration.
“It would be better for state governments to address environmental concerns through a sensible regulatory regime, rather than blanket bans on development that inhibit investment and harm consumers.
“We also support improving transparency of market information, and recommend that the COAG Energy Council work with industry to determine how transparency can be improved.
“Governments should be cautious about the proposal to lower the threshold for regulating pipeline access.
“Alternatives, such as the Australian Energy Market Commission’s approach to pipeline capacity trading, could deliver a more sophisticated approach to access than the blunt instrument of regulation.
“Government should undertake a careful cost-benefit analysis to assess whether alternative approaches generate higher net benefit,” she said.
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