Onshore gas bans a convenient scapegoat for pro gas MPs

We_won!_March_2017.jpgMedia release 13 December 2017

Environmental group Friends of the Earth has labelled ‘misleading’ and ‘irresponsible’, coalition and gas industry responses to today’s Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) updated report into the state of the nation’s gas market.

In September the ACCC warned of a gas shortfall in the East Coast market, forcing the federal government in October to reach an agreement with major gas producers to ensure they would offer ‘sufficient gas to the domestic market’ on ‘reasonable terms.’

Today’s report states that the threat of short-term shortages has now been averted but prices remain ‘above the levels the ACCC wanted to see’.

“It is the LNG export industry which is causing rising gas prices in the East Coast market.  And yet conservative and pro fossil fuel MPs continue to the blame moratoriums and bans that have been hard won by a community concerned about environmental and social impacts” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.

“Experts tell us time and time again it is the creation of a mass volume LNG export industry which has created the domestic price crisis. The federal government was forced to intervene because prices were becoming unacceptably high for domestic consumers. And it was the PM’s intervention in the market that finally started to reduce upwards pressure on prices. This clearly shows the federal government needs to set further directives to the export sector to withhold sufficient gas reserves for the domestic market” said Mr Walker.

The report also makes clear that increasing gas production through fracking is not the solution to price pressures. The report notes new ‘unconventional gas’ sources such as CSG have higher production costs, thereby raising the ‘floor price’ of firm gas supply.  Experts continue to tell us no amount of onshore conventional gas exploration in Victoria will lower domestic prices.

“Yet the federal energy minister continues to attack gas bans and moratoriums in states like Victoria for rising gas prices. Some in the federal government have even raised the prospect of punishing Victoria through changing GST allocations unless the state lifts its ban on fracking. The federal government continues to put its pro fossil fuel ideology ahead of sensible energy policy.

Onshore gas bans protect land, water and economic activity. They stop unnecessary methane emissions from accelerating climate change.  Australia needs a rapid transition away from our current heavy reliance on gas, and short-term intervention in the market to ensure the LNG industry cannot dictate the price Australian consumers pay for their gas.

Stop blaming farmers and forward thinking states that have wisely enacted bans and moratoriums for rising gas prices” said Mr Walker.

Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047