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The Australian Workers Union’s new national secretary has
announced plans to campaign for a reservation of 15 – 20 per cent
of local gas.
The Australian Financial Review reports that McDine’s union,
which had also favoured a reservation scheme under former secretary Paul Howes, hopes to exploit public concern about rising prices for gas.
McDine said that energy companies – who have called a
set aside policy protectionism – were merely concerned with huge profits by
selling to a global market.
“We believe the greatest economic benefits for Australia are
realised by allowing all resources, including natural gas, to flow to their
highest value use,” he told The AFR.
There are widespread concerns among consumers and industry
about the effect of LNG exports from Queensland coming on-stream later this
year. Some have predicted a tripling of local prices as they become linked to
what the market will pay in gas-poor east Asian nations.
McDine had previously mentioned plans for a campaign in July,
shortly after being elected to lead the union. He began his career in a
Pinjarra alumina smelter.
The union believes ensuring a cheaper gas supply will help protect members’ jobs from the looming price rises.
According to Manufacturing Australia, 100,000 industry jobs are at risk if action is not taken on gas prices and supply.