Gas shortages at the forefront of campaigning Politicians

23 Apr 2019

With onshore gas shortages looming and high prices threatening industry, the ALP is pledging $1.5 billion towards pipelines in the top end.

The move could save thousands of jobs among manufacturing on the east coast, where businesses are at risk of closure due to LNP exports and declining reserves raising gas prices.

Some funding would help fast-track development of gas resources lying in the Galilee and Bowen Basins in Queensland, and in the Beetaloo Basin in the NT. The Morrison government set aside $8.4 million of a total $75.5 million package dedicated to reliable energy supply to fund feasibility studies to accelerate the supply of gas to the east coast from the Beetaloo Basin.

The Energy Users’ Association of Australia, a group that includes BlueScope and Incitec Pivot and which last week called for the next federal government to prioritise sorting the east coast gas crisis, said ideas that accelerate gas into the east coast are “a great step forward”.

“Bringing on new supplies of gas along with supporting new participants will help increase competition and lower costs which are some of the steps we need to take to resolve the current east coast gas crisis,” said EUAA chief executive officer Andrew Richards.

Labor would repurpose the Coalition government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for projects including gas projects that would have national economic significance.

Speaking in Gladstone on Tuesday, Bill Shorten described the NAIF as “an abject failure”, with not once cent of the $5 billion promised by the Liberals spent in Queensland.

“Perhaps even more significantly the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund has probably spent more money on salaries for people who work for the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund than it has on building infrastructure in northern Australia,” Mr Shorten said.

“This has simply got to stop.”