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Supply and price still critical to resolving Australia's gas crisis - 31 May 2019

Supply and price still critical to resolving Australia's gas crisis

 

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.


Media contacts:

Shayna Welsh – swelsh@chemistryaustralia.org.au or 0448 660 443

 

The Australian chemistry industry currently supplies 109 of Australia’s 111 industries and contributes around $10.8 billion to the Australian economy every year.  The Australian chemistry sector is a significant industrial user of gas, with many of its member companies located on Australia’s East Coast where gas supply has become increasingly expensive and insecure. Gas is particularly essential to the business of chemistry. It’s important for process energy, and it is also a non-substitutable ingredient for advanced manufacturing. The Australian chemistry industry uses 10 per cent of Australia’s domestic gas for its molecular properties to create a huge range of products essential to our everyday lives. These include fertilisers for crops, cleaning products for health and hygiene in homes and hospitals, and smart packaging to keep food fresher for longer.

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