Statement on Australian domestic gas security mechanism

“Affordable and reliable gas supply is essential to Australia’s energy security and economic growth. Gas is a major input to large industrial companies which provide jobs to thousands of Australians,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The Australian government has today been forced to intervene to secure domestic gas supplies because many state governments have refused to support the development of new sources of gas.

“Australia may now lose valuable export opportunities because states such as Victoria have lacked the political courage to stare down green groups and commit to safely developing our gas resources.

“The proposed Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism is an attempt to rebalance the gas supply-demand balance in the face of blanket bans or moratoriums on the exploration and development of gas resources.

“But such a mechanism doesn’t come without cost. The cost could be fewer exports, fewer jobs and decreased appetite for investment in new gas projects.

“Australia has been safely developing unconventional gas resources for over 20 years.

“Successive Queensland governments have committed to developing these gas resources to support their economy and deliver jobs to Queenslanders.

“The Australian government may now be forced to divert gas from these Queensland export projects to meet the needs of those States that have not shown sufficient leadership with their own energy resources.

“The Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism will need to be very carefully designed and implemented to ensure there isn’t undue pressure on gas companies who made contractual commitments under existing regulatory arrangements.

“These gas companies are also large employers in regional Australia and states such as South Australia, where employment opportunities are sorely needed.

“Increasing Australia’s gas supply is the best way to ensure that Australia can access reliable and competitively priced gas to support the transition to a lower emissions economy.

“Australia’s gas resources are a vital energy source for many homes along with agricultural, mining and manufacturing businesses.

“To not develop our gas resources is a missed opportunity for sustainable economic growth.

“As recommended by the ACCC, states should be lifting bans and moratoriums on gas development and move to a scientifically-based regulatory framework for case by case assessment of projects,” Ms Westacott said.