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Energy White Paper - another missed opportunity to heed community concerns on unconventional gas

The Federal Government Energy Whitepaper released today is another missed opportunity to reassure the community on unconventional gas says the Lock the Gate Alliance.

“After the issue playing out in the Victorian and NSW state elections, Energy Minister MacFarlane has failed to take community concerns seriously. ” said National Coordinator, Phil Laird

“Legitimate concerns raised by the NSW Chief Scientist were not referred to at all by the Energy White Paper, nor the recommendations of the NSW Gas Supply Inquiry.

“The Government has taken the simplistic hands off approach of leaving regulation to the market.

“The Whitepaper does not provide a framework to ensure rigorous environmental protection but seeks to streamline environmental approvals via a one stop shop. Further there is no process to determine the existing gas supply volumes, domestic and export demand and future gas commitments so that government planning decisions are made in Australia’s long term national interest.

The Alliance does welcome a proposal for an ACCC investigation into market transparency and price discovery in the upstream gas market.

“It has been clear for some time now, that a number of public statements have been made to financial markets and the community at large in a coordinated scare campaign that there will be gas shortages.

“These public statements have been made by a range of companies who seek to benefit by ramping up CSG and unconventional gas development on the eastern seaboard.

“The misinformation, price gouging and cartel like behaviour deserve further investigation as does the revolving door between industry and government.

“This is the next piece of the puzzle for affected communities and gas consumers alike who are wondering why the regulation of this industry has gone so wrong and who will be held accountable for its abuse of market power.

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