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Statement - Economic benefits of gas-based manufacturing - 16 November 2020

Statement attributable to Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read:

Contrary to a recent report suggesting natural gas is losing relevance in Australia, the practical reality is that the use of gas by the chemistry and broader manufacturing sector adds significant value to the Australian economy and remains a key part of the nation’s future prosperity.

We endorse Prime Minister Morrison’s view that gas will help re-establish a strong economy and support jobs as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

Its use remains key to strengthening Australia’s sovereign capability and ensuring secure supply chains of key products into households. Ensuring manufacturers have access to globally competitive gas will help re-investment in current production assets and the new technologies that will help deliver further emissions reduction.

As independently determined by Acil Allen Consulting in the Chemical Sector Economic Contribution Analysis report, the business of chemistry contributes $38 billion annually to Australia’s GDP and supports the employment of hundreds of thousands of Australians due to its role as a critical enabler of almost every industry in Australia. Each of these jobs are important for the families they support and the communities they live in.

Chemistry Australia confirms its support for the independent analysis reported by Acil Allen.

Gas is used in three ways by small, medium and large chemistry sector companies – as non-substitutable raw material feedstock for larger firms and a source of process heat for steam and other energy needs. The sector uses approximately 3 per cent of Australia’s annual gas production to create a broad range of products that are crucial to critical supply chains underpinning our economy. These include:

  • Fertilisers and crop protection for farming
  • Medical and industrial gases
  • PPE, hygiene and cleaning products 
  • Explosives and other chemicals used in mining
  • Polymers for safe food storage, water storage, piping, irrigation and other infrastructure 
  • Water treatment and sanitation chemicals
  • Various chemicals and polymers that are essential for building and construction

Globally competitive input costs will be essential for Australia to retain its industrial base and underpin further investment in technologies that provide solutions to our future challenges such as emissions reduction and developing a more circular economy.

Investment in gas-based manufacturing industries will also provide vital employment opportunities for Australia’s STEM graduates, ensuring Australia is equipped with the workforce and skills to respond to these challenges.

As Australia works together to rebuild its economy and society, its especially important we secure the local manufacturing of essential products that strengthen our sovereign capability, provide secure employment and ensure Australian is best placed to realise the benefits of these significant value-add activities.


Media contacts:

Shayna Welsh – [email protected] or 0448 660 443

Chemistry Australia is the pre-eminent national body representing the Australian chemistry industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country. The industry supports more than 212,000 full time jobs and contributes more than $38 billion to Australia’s GDP. Members of Chemistry Australia are positioned across the entire value chain including manufacturers, importers and distributors, logistics and supply chain partners, raw material suppliers, fabricators, compounders, recyclers, research, academia and service providers to the industry. These businesses range from small family-owned companies to leading national and multinational enterprises.


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