Labor must admit its gas policy disaster

State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has slammed the Palaszczuk Government for failing to take responsibility for Labor’s failed gas policy, jeopardising the jobs of thousands to serve the interest of multi-national gas companies.

Mr Katter said Queensland had played a disastrous role in the erosion of Australia’s gas industry over the last decade.

He said highly-inflated gas royalty estimates had been used to ‘sell’ the policy to Queensland in 2009, and since then the opening up of the east coast gas export market without a reserve policy had tightened a noose on domestic consumers, causing vast economic loss across Australia.

A long-term proponent of introducing a gas reserve policy, Mr Katter has welcomed an announcement this week by the Federal Government to introduce such a scheme at the national level.

“Make no mistake, the roll out of first export of east coast gas following construction of the LNG (liquid natural gas) plants at Gladstone saw gas prices rocket up from around $3-$4 per gigajoule north to $25,” he said.

“It is now generally accepted to be around $12 per gigajoule and for what, royalties of $187 million in 2017-181? I know of standalone mining operations in Mount Isa that pay more royalties than that.

“The Labor Government under Anna Bligh told us not to worry about any potential price rise in gas and threats to industry because we’ll be showered in riches from royalties.

“This was a bit fat lie because gas prices saw astronomical rises and the royalties fell shockingly below expectations.

“The claim was that these price rises are acceptable and we don’t need a protectionist gas reserve policy because we would be earning $850 million a year in royalties2 – well, I am afraid she was mistaken.”

Mr Katter said the Queensland Minister for Energy Dr Anthony Lynham’s comments this week that the state was setting aside new gas fields for domestic users, and that the Federal Government should not be ‘meddling’, was a long way off resolving this industry blunder.

“We have sold our competitive gas price advantage to our overseas competitors, so that we now are building (or planning to build) gas import stations,” he said.

“Western Australian politicians were wily enough to save some gas for their own people and their industry prospered.

“Our government response to date has been tear thousands more holes in the ground to try get more out to get price down.

“Do not be deceived by the half-hearted attempts to hide chronic levels of naivety and ignorance in government that has killed Australian industry for a pittance in royalties.”

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