A loan financed by the Australian taxpayer should not be spent on a new gas pipeline that would send fracked gas from the NT and Queensland to export terminals, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
Responding to reports gas pipeline company Jemena, which is owned by China State Grid and Singapore Power, was eyeing off a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan, LTGA spokesperson Naomi Hogan said the multinational company did not need a handout from Australian taxpayers.
“It makes no financial sense for Australian taxpayers to have to fork out for this polluting gas pipeline,” she said.
“Jemena signed a binding agreement for this Galilee gas project back in 2017. It’s ridiculous that Jemena is now making a dash for Australian taxpayers’ cash to fund their pipeline plans.
“Jemena is making millions of dollars in profits every year from its pipeline tariffs. According to the interim report of the ACCC, 'Current pipeline tariffs remain too high. Measures to address the monopoly pricing by pipeline operators have commenced, but are not yet in full effect'.”
Jemena's latest financial statements are here. For FY18 its gas distribution segment operating profit was $295m, being 48.5% of Jemena's total $609m operating profit (pp13,14).
“Jemena is wholly owned by the Chinese and Singaporean Governments – it can absolutely afford to build its profit making gas pipelines without money from Australia,” Ms Hogan said.
“Piping incredibly expensive fracked gas from the Galilee or the Northern Territory will only serve to keep gas prices high for Australians - there are suggestions NT gas would cost as much as $11.10-$11.50 a gigajoule - about three times what Australians used to pay prior to 2015.
“Taxpayer money could be spent far better helping businesses and families get off expensive and polluting gas altogether.
“Fracking gasfields across Queensland and the Northern Territory are dirty and risky, using and polluting massive amounts of precious water.
“Parts of Australia are in never before seen extreme drought, plus we are the sunniest nation in the world. These simple facts should stop the Australian Government from handing out cash to prop up water guzzling fracking and multinational owned gas pipelines.”