The Federal ALP has announced a National Gas Plan aimed at providing access to affordable gas for Australian manufacturing.
The move was welcomed by Chemistry Australia, which called for further policy options that would put downward pressure on domestic gas prices.
“There is now acceptance across the political divide that $10 gas is not sustainable if we want to keep industrial manufacturing on the east coast,” said Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read.
“This is a significant development that refocuses the policy discussion on the importance of Australian jobs and Australian value chains.”
She said that although the Federal Government’s interventions have had effect to bring down spot prices from historic highs, the organisation’s members have yet to experience similar relief in gas contract pricing, with three to four-fold increases in a relatively short period still being reported.
“The 2014 Deloitte Access Economics Report forecast losses of $118 billion in manufacturing output and 15,000 jobs between 2014 and 2021, due to the gas market transformation resulting from LNG exports,” Ms Read continued.
“This may be conservative given the scale of the transformations that have eventuated.”
“We are certainly encouraged that there is now much greater recognition that creating the right environment for industrial manufacturing is a policy priority.”
She also called on authorities to immediately lift the bans on gas development in the southern states, adding that transportation adds to the cost of gas for users.
“The best way to ensure low cost gas is to develop the resources available, in the markets in which they are used,” Ms Read concluded.