Domestic consumers and Australian manufacturing industries are being forced to pay higher prices for gas just to meet the CSG industry’s push to export product overseas, the price regulator has been told.
Lock the Gate Alliance’s submission to IPART lifts the lid on the CSG industry’s spin that gas shortages are driving price hikes and calls for IPART to amend its draft decision and reject the price increases sought by gas retailers.
National coordinator for Lock the Gate, Phil Laird, said the cost of doing business in Australia was being driven up for an industry that provided relatively few jobs, damaged the environment, reduced the nation’s food security and threatened our water resources.
‘The CSG export industry is causing domestic gas prices to rise by linking us to world prices,’ Mr Laird said.
‘Households in NSW can expect to pay up to $162 extra per year for gas, from July 2014, simply because the CSG industry wants to push its product into the world market.
‘The costs to businesses for gas from next year are expected to rise by up to $625 a year. The impact on large users of energy will be magnified with some manufacturing industries pushed to the wall.’
The submission notes that Manufacturing Australia estimates that close to 100,000 direct manufacturing jobs may be lost in Australia as a result of CSG exports.
‘The Grattan Institute estimates that rising gas prices will cost households across Australia an extra $544 million per year and industrial users up to $3.2 billion per year,’ Mr Laird said.
‘Leading Australian manufacturers including Incitec Pivot’s James Fazzino have been critical of Australia’s unrestricted gas exports and his company recently opted to build a new factory in the US rather than Australia in part because of the high cost of gas.
‘We have already seen the world’s financiers question the wisdom of price gouging domestic consumers to sell a product overseas with Credit Suisse warning investors earlier this year that Santos’ Gladstone LNG export plant had been developed primarily to raise the domestic gas price and thereby re-rate the value of the company’s assets.
‘Santos admits in its own corporate book, Blue Flames, Black Gold, published to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, that the $18.5 billion Gladstone LNG export plant was the key to a strategy to push the price paid in Australia for gas to global parity,’ he said.
Mr Laird said the solution lay in legislation to protect Australian consumers and businesses from the price hikes and support for alternative sources of energy that were safe and did not threaten our land and water.