Another Positive Step Out Of The Gas Crisis
Emily Wood | May 7, 2021
The Energy Users’ Association of Australia (EUAA) welcomes the release of the National Gas Infrastructure Plan Interim Report and $58.6 million in gas related budget initiatives by the Federal Government, considering it another positive step out of the gas crisis that has gripped the domestic gas market for a number of years.
“Large industrial gas users who process the food and dairy products we consume every day, and who make plastic, fertiliser, bricks, aluminium and steel that are central to our economy, have been struggling with unsustainably high gas prices for too long,” said EUAA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Andrew Richards.
“We congratulate the Federal Government for the initiatives announced today and in the coming federal budget and thank them for their ongoing commitment to gas customers, large and small.”
The National Gas Infrastructure Plan Interim Report identifies strategic actions in a number of areas that will greatly assist in improving the domestic gas market. Pipeline capacity expansion and increased storage capacity, especially those that help alleviate current constraints and shortfalls in southern gas markets, are most welcome. Other pipeline capacity expansions that help unlock new gas reserves are also critical and are equally welcomed, as is an emphasis on unlocking additional gas supplies.
“We think the National Gas Infrastructure Plan Interim Report focuses on the right things and builds on previous announcements such as the five strategic basin development plan. We hope through this process that not only do we bring more gas supply to market, but we encourage more gas suppliers to enter the market, which will enhance both supply and competition.”
Funding to be announced in the Federal Budget not only compliments the National Gas Infrastructure Plan but provides much needed support in other areas.
In particular, $38.7 million for targeted support of critical gas infrastructure projects to help alleviate the forecast gas supply shortfall and $6.2 million to accelerate the development of the Wallumbilla Gas Supply Hub in Queensland, are welcome additions to funding previously announced.
“While funding for accelerating gas infrastructure is most welcome, an allocation of $4.6 million to develop initiatives that empower gas-reliant businesses to negotiate competitive contract outcomes, including developing a voluntary standardised contract framework is a very positive initiative,” added Mr Richards.
“For too long gas users have been at a disadvantage at the negotiating table and any effort to address this imbalance is most welcome.”
The EUAA continues to work diligently with its consumer colleagues on the gas industries code of conduct and are engaging with the ACCC on their LNG Netback review with a goal of developing a longer duration netback series that reflects the true cost of domestic gas.
“While all these initiatives are important in their own right, it is the sum of the parts that will deliver fair and reasonable gas prices for domestic consumers. We look forward to working with the Federal Government, the gas industry and our industry colleagues to achieve this outcome.”
The EUAA is the peak national body representing major Australian electricity and gas users. Membership covers a broad cross-section of the Australian economy including significant retail, mining, manufacturing, healthcare, raw materials and food processing industries producing many essential items used by the Australian community every day.
Combined, EUAA members employ over 1 million Australians, pay billions in energy bills every year and are desperate to see a national energy and climate change plan that puts downward pressure on electricity and gas costs.
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Media Contact: Emily Wood 0421 042 121