The Australian Workers Union’s Paul Howes criticised both sides of politics and argued that Labor should embrace CSG extraction at a conference last Friday.
Howes, who has previously spoken about the benefits to manufacturers of loosening gas extraction restrictions, told the Eastern Energy Markets Outlook that the NSW government, which recently boasted of having the toughest CSG restrictions in the country, had gotten into a “very awkward” position on the issue.
The issue had united the extremes of left and right, and – according to Howes – the key was to seize what he claimed was the sensible middle ground.
Of NSW, he said its approach,“Is not about improving rigorous environmental safeguards. It’s about piling up messy legislative hurdles in to a huge, cumbersome pile until nothing can happen and investors get fed up and leave.”
He also argued that CSG was cleaner to burn, its wells had a footprint much smaller to those of coal mines, and had employed 27,000 people in Queensland.
Howes argued that Victoria was no better, and due to its Coalition government’s fear of the Greens, it would not act sensibly and the state’s manufacturers would suffer.
“The word in Melbourne is that the Liberals will end up doing nothing (about the Peter Reith report on CSG) because they are so scared of the Greens and (despite) the industry (potentially) providing a much-needed lifeline to the ailing state manufacturing industry,” Business Spectator reports him as saying.