Now a study by BIS Shrapnel warns that one in five manufacturers could shut down over the next five years because of spiralling gas prices. This confirms my view that we should establish a gas reserve in Australia in order to reduce costs for manufacturing and consumers. I welcome the support of National Party MP Andrew Broad for a gas reservation policy.
The AWU 'Reserve Our Gas' campaign comes amid reports that Australian gas prices will triple from July next year as LNG exports ramp up. Our resources should not be a zero-sum game where domestic needs are sacrificed on the altar of free-market ideology.
It is economic madness that we have a situation in which our abundant gas reserves are hurting Australian jobs and households instead of helping them, where we are giving up a national competitive advantage so gas exporters can make more profits while trashing our manufacturing sector.
I agree with AWU national secretary Scott McDine that Australia is out of step with other major nations, such as the United States, that reserve a percentage of gas for domestic use. Mr McDine is right when he says:
"Australians have a right to know their rapidly rising gas bills are actually completely preventable. We just need to do what every other gas-exporting nation does and bring in laws to look after the local population.”
Australia should embrace are more practical economic policy where we have both a prosperous gas export industry and a competitive advantage for our local industry.