Federal Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic says a domestic gas reserve and windfall profits tax should be considered as means to address the ongoing gas crisis.
husic awning RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas he was “absolutely agitated” with the gas companies, and he said the government needed to send a signal to the businesses could no longer place the burden of the crisis on the public and the national economy.
“I’ve got a great deal of sympathy for the view in the broader public that these are Australian resources that should be made available for use by households,” he said.
“If we’re shipping out of some of our ports seven times the level of supply that is used by the Australian market in one year, it’s not an issue of supply here. This is not an issue that we don’t have the gas. It’s the supply that is available locally at a price that works for industry.”
Husic said the situation was putting pressure on businesses and manufacturers, who struggled to lock in contracts for longer than two to three years.
“If interest rates were falling and banks were holding on to that and not passing on the interest rate cut to the wider community, one of the arguments we’d be putting is that that’s having an impact on the commercial environment for a lot of other businesses. And we’d be putting pressure on the banks to play ball,” he said.
“I think we’re in a similar sort of territory here with gas companies, and I think they do need to recognize the social license that exists”
Husic said it was imperative that the government reformed the ‘gas trigger’ system to react to price issues as well as supply shortages. I have advocated for greater involvement of states and territories in solving the crisis.
He said gas would continue to play an important role in sustaining Australia’s industry in the medium term since technology wasn’t advancing fast enough to replace fossil fuel use with alternative forms of energy such as hydrogen in the short term.
“Being able to find other sources of gas in the interim that’s going to be important … while still conscious that we do want to get to net zero,” he said.