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Government must value needs of farmers over those of export gas giants

Opening more Australian farmland to gasfields and fracking is a dangerous, short-sighted, and counter-productive approach to reducing domestic energy costs, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

Responding to comments made by export-driven big gas companies during the APPEA conference yesterday, LTGA spokesperson Naomi Hogan said Australians had been paying exorbitant, inflated prices for gas ever since the industry was linked to international markets.

“Gas exporting companies are sucking up a lion’s share of Australian gas and charging Australian gas users through the nose,” she said.

“Opening up more farming land to expensive fracking and coal seam gas will only keep gas prices high for consumers. It’s a high-cost, high-risk industry that has caused economic upheaval in eastern Australia.

“Instead of forcing farmers and regional communities to cop polluting gasfields, government ministers like Matt Canavan should be helping businesses innovate to get off expensive gas in order to save money and create new jobs.

“Onshore unconventional gas is expensive low-yield gas. It will cost consumers and businesses more, cost jobs and put Australian waterways and aquifers at risk.

“Santos was the architect of Australia’s gas price crisis and drive up the cost of gas for everyone by linking domestic production to international markets via the export terminals at Gladstone.

“Australian East Coast gas prices have tripled since the three major gas export terminals came online in Gladstone with unrestricted gas exports.”

Ms Hogan said the government would have a fight on its hands if it tried to steamroll over the top of Australian farmers who had clearly rejected the unconventional gas industry.

“State gas regulations are in place because farmers and rural communities across the country have been forced to stand up and protect their livelihoods, water and the food they produce for us all,” she said.

“The Morrison Government should be cracking down on the big companies, which are ripping off domestic customers by funnelling our gas overseas.”

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