The Queensland Government approved the Gladstone LNG and QGC Queensland Curtis LNG projects without any cost benefit analysis despite this being a requirement of the EIS process, a whistleblower revealed today.
Former Government worker turned whistleblower Simone Marsh said the Queensland Coordinator General signed off on both projects in 2010 without this critical information even though it was obvious that gas prices would rise and manufacturing would be the loser.
The revelation comes as a new report by Deloitte Access Economics warns that the Australian Manufacturing Industry will experience losses of around $118 billion by 2021 as a result of price hikes for gas caused by a massive gas export push.
Ms Marsh said she had warned that the EIS documents were missing any cost benefit analysis before the projects were approved but her warnings were ignored.
“I am not an economist but even I could see that the projects would have a major impact on gas prices,” Ms Marsh said.
The Deloitte Access report, released today and commissioned by the Australian Manufacturing Industry and others, looked at the likely impact of gas exports on domestic gas prices.
National Coordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance Phil Laird said the report highlighted the urgent need for national regulation and oversight over the gas industry.
Mr Laird said the Minister for Industry and Energy Ian Macfarlane was “noticeably silent” on this issue of national importance,
“The federal government has the power under its corporations power, its trade and commerce power and its external affairs powers of the constitution to ensure that the national interest is protected in this case.
“Australia has one of the largest gas reserves in the world yet we are selling it overseas at the expense of local manufacturers and domestic consumers.
“Arguments that small fields such as the Pilliga in north west NSW or Metgasco’s field in the Northern Rivers of NSW have to be extracted to prevent a gas shortage are simply ridiculous. These reserves will be sent overseas if the price is right and local landholders will be left with a legacy of contaminated land and water. It’s not safe for our communities and it’s not safe for our economy.
“What this report highlights is that there has been a failure of gas policy in Australia and to solve this all options should be on the table including a national gas reservation plan and a push to renewables,” Mr Laird said.
Further information contact: Phil Laird 0428 712 622
Jane Hammond 0403 926 467