Ahead of today’s announcements on the ‘gas-led recovery’, many environmental groups made pre-emptive strikes in the hopes of heading the Prime Minister’s message off at the pass.
Scott Morrison is pressuring the private sector to build a gas-fired replacement to AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station.
Today the Prime Minister said gas will help re‑establish a strong economy as part of the Government’s JobMaker plan, making energy affordable for families and businesses and supporting jobs as part of Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 recession.
Mr Morrison said the Government would reset the east coast gas market and create a more competitive and transparent Australian Gas Hub by unlocking gas supply, delivering an efficient pipeline and transportation market, and empowering gas customers.
Climate Council – the Federal Government is making a bad bet on gas
According to the Climate Council, Morrison’s gas plan stinks. They say the Federal Government is making a bad bet on gas, throwing taxpayer funds at a dangerous fossil fuel, when what is needed is a plan to rebuild our economy and protect Australians from long-term threats.
Climate Councillor and former president of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne, says the Federal Government is trying to shore up the gas industry which is in a poor financial state. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is decarbonising.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor has announced the Federal Government’s Gas Recovery Plan, which reportedly includes the construction of a new gas power station in the NSW Hunter Valley if AGL does not replace its Liddell coal-fired power station.
‘This announcement delivers no jobs in the short-term, and will only deliver huge uncertainty into the energy market,’ said Mr Bourne. ‘The economic and technological winds of change are driving us towards a renewables-led future – that is where private sector investment dollars are going.’
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said that to reduce emissions, reduce power prices, create jobs, and reboot Australia’s economy, we need investment in clean, affordable, reliable renewable energy and storage technologies.
‘The Climate Council’s Clean Jobs Plan found that 76,000 jobs can be created across Australia, rapidly getting people back into the workforce while also tackling climate change.
‘Australia has an enormous opportunity to be a world leader in renewable energy and manufacturing. This is the plan Australia needs,’ said Ms McKenzie.
Nature Conservation Council – Morrison has abandoned his own ‘technology neutral’ principles
The Nature Conservation Council said that Prime Minister Morrison has abandoned his own ‘technology neutral’ principles to fuel fossil obsession.
Responding to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plans to spend $50m on gas supply and plan a gas power station in the Hunter Valley, Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said the Prime Minister has thrown his own ‘technology neutral’ energy policy out the window, and is locking Australia into burning expensive, polluting gas.
‘This is not a climate safe plan. Locking in more gas will just heat the planet, making bushfires and heatwaves worse.
‘We call on the Prime Minister to consider clean options for back-up power supply, like grid scale batteries and pumped hydro.
‘The time for building new fossil fuel power plants is long past. After the bushfire summer from hell that we just lived through, it is clear we cannot afford to delay.
‘We urge all companies and governments to lift their level of ambition so Australia has 100% clean energy by 2030.’
Liddell today, Narrabri tomorrow?
Farmers of the food bowl are watching closely as the current events unfold. North West New South Wales food growers have been living under the threat of the Narrabri Gas Project for years and are concerned that a green light for one gas field might mean the go-ahead for all.
Mullaley farmer Robyn King has no faith in the process, and no faith in the government’s ability to make sound decisions when it comes to fossil fuels.
‘How many lies does it take to get approval for a CSG project that does not stack up in any shape or form?
‘Why are we, Australia, “prostituting” ourselves to appease the gas cartel?
‘At risk is groundwater, precious food producing regions and our future sustainability,’ she said.
Staunch community opposition to unconventional gas
Margaret Fleck is another farmer from the area. She says the Narrabri gas project puts the only water source that so many people rely on at risk of depletion and contamination.
‘The Great Artesian Basin will be protected by those whose lives and livelihoods rely on it.
‘With or without government funding, the gas industry will become less profitable over the coming years because the price of renewables will continue to fall. Gas industry assets will be stranded.
‘If the stated cost of gas properly reflected the financial consequences of the damage that it causes to the environment and to health it would be even more clear that funding the gas industry does not make financial sense.
‘Community opposition to the Narrabri Gas project and associated infrastructure is immense in North West NSW,’ said Ms Fleck.
‘Lock the Gate’s Gasfield Free survey began in North west New South Wales in 2012. Huge swathes of our region including the entire Local Government Areas of Coonamble and Gilgandra are declared Gasfield Free.
‘To date, thorough community consultation and engagement has included 108 communities in the North West and surveyed over 3.3 million hectares, in 9 Local Government Areas, completely encompassing The Pilliga and Narrabri Gas Project. An overwhelming response of 96% has rejected any form of gasfield activity or infrastructure,’ said Ms Fleck.
NSW depends far more on its sources of underground water than QLD
David Quince also grows our food in the area – Mr Quince has a farm south of Mullaley at Tambar Springs.
Qunicy says farmers of the north west of NSW have been fighting the Unconventional Gas Mining Threat to this region for 11 years. ‘We have seen first hand the damage or reparation that is needed just in the Galilee basin in Queensland of some 571 farm bores or wells already,’ he said. ‘That number is growing exponentially as the CSG Industry in Queensland grows.’
‘NSW depends far more on its sources of underground water than Queensland, with irrigation and water for livestock. Even the energy experts as well as economists in this field are stating categorically this is not the solution.’