The Australian chemistry industry welcomes recent comments made by ACCC Chair Rod Sims, highlighting the need for greater supply of affordable gas for commercial and industrial users.
Mr Sims’ comments reinforce repeated calls by Chemistry Australia for government support of measures that deliver greater supply of affordable gas in line with the long-term interests of domestic consumers.
Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read said Australia’s gas crisis hasn’t gone away, and its impacts continue to threaten the viability of gas-based manufacturers and their ability to invest in this country.
“The increased supply of gas and competitive markets are key to addressing long-term gas prices,” said Ms Read.
“We ask the Australian Government to urgently complete the full range of reforms recommended by Chemistry Australia before the crisis has permanent consequences for industrial manufacturing, households and the broader economy.”
“In the short term, we believe there is a strong case for government intervention to address the dysfunction in Australia’s gas market on the East Coast, so as not to lose manufacturing capability and further strip complexity from Australia’s economy.
“Increased supply needs to be enabled by state governments replacing moratoria with a case-by-case, science-based assessment of projects backed up by sound regulation.
“Alongside this, we need suppliers to work closely with their customers to ensure Australian manufacturing and products Australians make with gas remain a key part of future domestic gas markets.
“Gas-based manufacturing provides thousands of high-skilled Australian jobs and plays an important role in a diverse Australian economy.
“Unfortunately, the effects of Australia’s gas crisis have reached tipping point with manufacturers currently facing tough decisions about whether they can continue to invest in their operations in Australia, or are forced to relocate jobs, innovation and capability overseas.
“With each chemistry industry job linked to five in the broader economy, job losses in our sector extend to supply chains with impacts felt well beyond the chemistry industry.”
In its recent policy whitepaper, Chemistry Australia outlined an action plan for immediate gas market reform, which includes the development of a national domestic gas strategy, along with the introduction of a ‘use it or lose it’ mandatory development regime and continued reform to increase transparency for consumers.
Chemistry Australia is also calling for an extension of the ACCC’s gas inquiry until 2025.