The NSW Business Chamber has come out in support of expanding the state’s gas industry to mitigate price rises owing to deregulation and overseas exports.
CEO Stephen Cartwright claims it is likely to have a serious impact on the business community as higher costs are passed along the supply chain.
He said, ‘NSW chief scientist, Mary O’Kane, recently delivered a blueprint for the safe development of the state’s abundant gas supplies, and it is now up to the NSW government to implement a robust but timely approvals process for CSG projects that ensures the viability of energy-using industries.’
Meanwhile, manager of the northern rivers NSW Business Chamber, John Murray, is unsupportive of a reservation policy, which would aim to protect domestic consumers from international deregulation.
Similar mechanisms are in place in the US and Canada.
Gas reservation policy unsupported
He told The Echo, ‘Keeping the price of gas at artificially low rates for domestic use runs the risk of exacerbating demand in the short term and increasing the likelihood of shortages over the long term.’
‘As identified by the Grattan Institute, there is also no clear evidence that the gas reservation policy applied in Western Australia has delivered lower gas prices for users, with Western Australian gas prices currently higher than those on the east coast.’
But a campaign launched in September by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) is calling for a domestic gas reservation policy, claiming that tens of thousands of workers’ jobs are at risk.
AWU’s Scott McDine says on their website, ‘Australia is the only gas-exporting nation in the world without laws to ensure its domestic consumers are not damaged by the linking of gas to global markets.
‘Australians have a right to know their rapidly rising gas bills are actually completely preventable.’