State governments urged to consider manufacturing jobs, reconsider gas moratoriums

Image: ABC

Industry minister Greg Hunt met with executives from some of Australia’s major energy companies yesterday to discuss the “looming shortage” of the resource for manufacturers.

The Australian reports that the agenda included pressuring the NSW and Victorian governments to relax current bans on unconventional gas extraction and exploration. There will be a further Council of Australian Government meeting on Friday regarding energy security, following the September South Australian blackout.

Australian Industry Group’s CEO Innes Willox said that Australia had lost its previous energy advantage and the issue was concerning for manufacturing.

“It is becoming a massive issue of confidence for Australian business that needs to be addressed quickly,” he said.

“The states need to recognise that without a gas industry, we will not invest in their states, and if they want to create jobs they need to be able to guarantee gas supply.”

Resources minister Matt Canavan said the blanket bans are unfortunate.

“In Victoria’s case, a remarkable moratorium on conventional gas, not just unconventional gas, and the Federal Government does not believe that’s the right approach,” he told the ABC.

Following yesterday’s meeting, Shell’s managing director Andrew Smith also criticised the bans.

“In particular, Victorian businesses will pay more for gas, and jobs will be lost, because the government has banned gas exploration without any scientific basis,” The Australian reports his as saying.