Lost Opportunity for Victoria’s Gas Development

It is disappointing the Victorian Government has ignored the advice of its Gas Market Taskforce led by Peter Reith, which recommends lifting restrictions to the development of a diversified onshore gas industry in Victoria, Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“At a time when gas prices are rising on the east coast, the Victorian Government has chosen to further delay onshore gas opportunities for Victoria. This is no time for delays,” Ms Westacott said.

The Gas Market Taskforce report provides a comprehensive set of recommendations that would see the development of a world-class onshore gas industry in Victoria that is supported by rigorous environmental processes with benefits flowing to regional communities.

“Governments across Australia must come to terms with the fact that restricting gas supply only adds upward pressure to price, compromising the competitiveness of manufacturers and trade-exposed businesses, and increasing household costs.

“As the report makes very clear: ‘Rising gas prices will have a negative impact on Victoria’s manufacturing base. Jobs and investment are at risk. Cost of living will rise and could rise for longer if not addressed’.

“Victorian households and industry rely on gas more than any other state in the country. Victoria therefore needs to allow the market to respond to rising gas prices. Restricting supply will only make this situation worse,” she said.

Growing demand for gas driven by LNG exports, and increasing production costs, mean that the price of gas on the east coast of Australia is on the rise. Increasingly, Victoria’s manufacturers are finding it difficult to secure gas contracts and this is another blow to getting more gas to market.

“Today’s decision by the Victorian Government to delay action on the future of its gas industry will only make it more difficult to diversify the state’s gas supply options and lock out potential new suppliers from the market,” Ms Westacott said.

“Instead, the government should be supporting the development of an onshore gas industry that can bring many benefits to the state, regional communities and importantly, landholders.

“Queensland is leading the way on how to develop a safe and sustainable onshore gas industry in Australia and in turn is reaping the benefits through regional employment and expected royalties.

“The Victorian Government too should be looking to provide these opportunities to regional Victoria.”

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2603 | Mobile 0403 241 128