Chair of the Victorian Gas Market Review Peter Reith told a seminar yesterday that although the state’s lawmakers needed to allow extraction of CSG, there was nothing to be done to avoid the imminent price spike on the east coast.
Reith, a former minister in the Howard government, spoke at a Committee for Economic Development for Australia event that a cost price squeeze was unavoidable.
“That’s all set in concrete,” the Australian Financial Review reports him as saying.
He said that the he understood the political sensitivity around the issue, which has seen the Victorian government defer discussing the issue until after the November 2014 election, but manufacturing jobs and regional development were at stake.
“If we do see job losses next year and the following year, I think we’ll all have it in our mind that people at the political level didn’t wish to do anything now,” said Reith, according to The Australian.
“I’m not saying Victoria is a rustbucket, but if we are to have a manufacturing sector that’s going to have some growth possibilities, governments have to have a real determination to look at the input costs, for all of those businesses and this is one of the big input costs.”
The former federal minister cited the experience in the United States, which has seen what’s been called a “manufacturing renaissance” due to the boom in unconventional natural gas production.