Business

Australians support saving gas for domestic supply: survey

Gladstone is at the heart of the east coast gas export industry, with three LNG plants being built on Curtis Island.
Gladstone is at the heart of the east coast gas export industry, with three LNG plants being built on Curtis Island.

MANUFACTURERS have claimed that most Australians want a policy of domestic gas reservation and that this would sway voter intentions, a move set to renew the debate over rising gas prices.

Manufacturing Australia has released a survey it commissioned where 35% of people said it was "quite likely" and 13% "extremely likely" that it would sway their decision at the election if a party made a policy pledge on the issue.

Those uncertain stood at 21%.

The survey also showed that 90% of Australians supported some form of government intervention to solve Australia's domestic gas crisis, and more than half (54%) would be in favour of a policy that set aside gas for domestic use.

The survey, which sought responses from 1134 people across Australia between August 15-20, set out to understand the public's attitude towards four multinational gas consortia having unrestricted rights to export Australian gas from the east coast.

Gladstone is at the heart of this industry, with three LNG plants being constructed on Curtis Island. The plants will convert CSG to LNG for overseas export.

"Unrestricted gas exports will lead to gas price hikes for businesses and households, as well as putting at risk almost 200,000 manufacturing-reliant jobs," Sue Morphet, Manufacturing Australia chairman, said.

"Australians will be forced to pay one of the world's highest gas prices, despite having one of the world's largest supplies.

"This survey clearly demonstrates that the gas crisis is a national interest issue that is causing genuine concern among the Australian public."

Manufacturing Australia recently launched its Gas for Jobs campaign to highlight the impact that unrestricted gas exports would have on the Australian manufacturing sector as well as households.

Manufacturers rely heavily on gas, either directly as an ingredient in making plastics and chemicals such as fertiliser, or indirectly as a reliable, effective and affordable source of energy.

"Currently Australia's domestic gas market is broken," Ms Morphet said.

"The multinational oil and gas consortia have under-produced against the forecasts for their lucrative gas export contracts and are struggling to meet their quotas.

"To make up the shortfall, they are securing the vast majority of the available gas on Australia's east coast, leaving us unable to predict how much will be left for domestic use, and will send it to Gladstone where gas container ships will carry Australian gas to lucrative offshore markets."

Manufacturing Australia said it did not oppose the development of an export industry for Australian gas, but argued that a gas export industry should not come at the cost of thousands of jobs and increased energy costs for Australian households.

Topics:  business, csg, curtis island, federal election 2013, gas, gladstone, lng



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