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Unlocking Queensland’s Bowen and Galilee basin gas resources has been named among the top priorities under the Federal Government’s gas-fired recovery plan announced today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would reset the east coast gas market and create a more competitive and transparent Australian Gas Hub.

It plans to get more gas into the market by:
  • Setting new gas supply targets with states and territories and enforcing potential “use-it or lose-it” requirements on gas licenses
  • Unlocking five key gas basins starting with the Beetaloo Basin in the NT and the North Bowen and Galilee Basin in Queensland, at a cost of $28.3 million for the plans
  • Avoiding any supply shortfall in the gas market with new agreements with the three east coast LNG exporters that will also strengthen price commitments
  • Supporting CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance with $13.7 million.
  • Exploring options for a prospective gas reservation scheme to ensure Australian gas users get the energy they need at a reasonable price
The plan will also focus on the gas transport network, with a commitment to identifying priority pipelines and critical infrastructure as part of an inaugural National Gas Infrastructure Plan (NGIP) worth $10.9 million.

This would also highlight where the government should step in if the private sector doesn’t invest.

The government also plans to establish an Australian Gas Hub at Wallumbilla in Queensland’s Surat Basin to deliver an open, transparent and liquid gas trading system.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the government’s gas plan would drive job creation and economic growth in northern and regional Australia.

“This commitment will encourage investment to unlock Australia’s vast resources potential – boosting exports, jobs and energy supplies,” Mr Pitt said.

“Developing Australia’s untapped gas resources will help to deliver more affordable and more sustainable gas supply that supports households and businesses.”

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the gas plan, saying its Resources Industry Recovery Agenda (published in June) had identified more gas pipeline infrastructure as a key response to the COVID-19 recovery.

“As the peak representative for coal, mineral and gas producers, explorers and developers, QRC has put forward an ambitious plan for a resources-supported recovery, and specifically for pipeline investment,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“Gas pipelines can help to redress the tyranny of distance by connecting gas fields to domestic customers.

“A new trunk line to aggregate gas collection will help increase the supply of gas across a whole province and lower the cost of delivering gas to customers.”

Not everyone is happy with today’s announcement, however, with Greenpeace among the groups criticising the government backing for fossil fuel industries.

“Gas is a polluting fossil fuel that has already made a massive contribution to the climate crisis,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesman Jonathan Moylan said.

“Numerous studies have shown that investment in climate-smart stimulus creates more jobs than throwing even more public money at the increasingly uncompetitive fossil fuel industries.

“By shifting its focus and prioritising climate-smart stimulus that creates future-proof jobs, the Morrison Government can protect Australian workers and the environment at the same time.”