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Australian plans to import gas are expensive, bad for the climate and utterly absurd | Samantha Hepburn for the Conversation

Households are struggling with soaring gas bills and the future of our manufacturing sector is at risk

22.10.2019

Australian plans to import gas are expensive, bad for the climate and utterly absurd | Samantha Hepburn for the Conversation

Households are struggling with soaring gas bills and the future of our manufacturing sector is at risk

It is unconscionable that Australian governments have allowed LNG producers untrammelled export growth without credible safeguards for the domestic market. The crisis could be de-escalated with stronger export controls and a regulatory regime more focused on the public interest.

Almost one-third of the gas consumed in Australia is used by manufacturers – as both an energy source and raw material to make metals, chemicals, plastic and building materials.

Sydney-based polystyrene cup maker RemaPak went into administration earlier this year after its energy costs increased by 400% over three years.

As more and more gas went offshore, domestic prices soared. In 2014, east coast gas prices were $4 a gigajoule. In 2017, they spiked at $20 a gigajoule and they are now sitting at roughly $10 a gigajoule.

The mechanism was established by the federal government with much fanfare in July 2017, but has never been used. This is largely because it is triggered by a shortfall in supply, not rising prices.

Price pain Australia is soon expected to export 80 million tonnes of gas each year. Without strong regulatory change this expansion will continue to drive up domestic energy prices.

The rich resources of Australia belong to the public. They should only be exploited when it is firmly in our interests.

Read more: The Guardian

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