“Cash for gas” – reward States that do, punish those that don’t

11 September 2018

Both sides of Federal politics should pledge to reward States, like Queensland, to develop their gas reserves and help ease pressure on east coast gas supplies, the Queensland Resources Council said today.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said Queensland continued to do the heavy lifting, while New South Wales and Victoria steadfastly refused to develop their gas reserves.

“The development of the LNG industry in Queensland generated $63 billion of investment, 30,000 construction jobs, 12,000 ongoing jobs and a driving force behind Queensland’s record exports. The industry has grown and been sustained through bipartisan support in Queensland,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has committed to an annual release of more acreage for gas exploration and development for the domestic market,” he said.

Responses to a Queensland Government tender for authorities to prospect for petroleum and gas over more than 11,000 square kilometres in 10 prospective petroleum and gas areas in Adavale, Eromanga, Bowen and Surat Basins recently closed.

“The release of more land for exploration both for domestic and export market is essential to the gas supply equation, and it is a commitment of confidence in the sector’s future,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Sadly, the Queensland approach has not been adopted by other States and this has exacerbated the situation for domestic gas supplies.

Mr Macfarlane said the Energy White Paper, released three years ago when he was Industry Minister, was very explicit about the problem when it reported:

“Some States have unnecessary regulatory and planning barriers and moratoriums that prevent much-needed supply. These barriers are increasing the risk of potential near-term supply tightness on the east coast and increasing prices…. Uncertainty around the supply response, together with a lack of market mechanisms to assist price discovery and risk management, is exacerbating these problems. This also affects the supply to retailers, who pass these costs onto smaller customers.”

Mr Macfarlane said despite pressure on New South Wales and Victoria, they are steadfast in their refusal to be part of the domestic gas supply solution.

“This refusal is bipartisan – a Liberal-National Government in NSW and a Labor Government in Victoria. Their respective Oppositions in those States are also opposed to following the successful model in Queensland if they were to form government,” he said.

With a Federal election due by May next year, and elections in Victoria this November and New South Wales in March, it’s time to end the free ride for the southern States.

“Perhaps both sides of politics should consider rewarding Queensland for its commitment to being part of the solution to gas supply pressures for eastern Australia – and the reward for Queensland should be at the expense of those recalcitrant southern States.”

“No Federal Government can force these States to act, but they can be encouraged – for long enough they have been offered the carrot, perhaps now they need the stick.”

Media contact: Anthony Donaghy 0412 450 360