Narrabri Gas Project Motion

In Parliament today, Abigail spoke in support of the motion to stop the Narrabri Gas Project.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (18:21:50): On behalf of The Greens, I support the motion. I also thank Pegasus Economics for doing the work referred to in the motion and the many community groups, including farmers, traditional custodians and environmentalists, who arranged for it to be brought to our attention at the presentation in Parliament House last week. I also thank them for their continued work opposing the Narrabri Gas Project and advocating for farmers and the preservation of the water supply on which they rely. The narrative being spun by the gas industry and echoed by the Government would have us believe there is a shortage of gas in Australia. We are told that we need more gas in the Australian market to bring gas prices down. An increase in supply will not bring gas prices down, as the Government and the gas industry well know. The reality is that the export of gas has caused gas prices in Australia to go up.

We are on track to become the world's largest gas exporter, exporting so much gas that there is not enough available at a reasonable cost to create electricity domestically or for it to be used by industry. Manufacturers and households are suffering from high electricity costs as a result. Gas prices in Australia are roughly double what they were four years ago. As Mr Justin Field indicated, we pay around 150 per cent of the price paid for Australian gas in Asia. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission agrees that there is a problem, stating that Sydneysiders are paying 81 per cent more for gas than they should be. Contrary to what the Hon. Scott Farlow would have us believe, demand for gas has been on the decline for some time, falling dramatically in Australia and also internationally.

What has actually impacted on the east coast gas market is the liquefying of coal seam gas [CSG] to ship it overseas, thereby linking the domestic gas market to the world gas market. At a very basic level, increasing the supply of a domestic product will cause the price of that product to fall, but only if all other things remain equal. As The Australia Institute made clear in its Fracking the Future report, in this case all other things are not equal because when we began exporting gas eastern Australia became connected to the much higher world price at the time. The increase in domestic supply will only reduce the price of gas in Australia if it lowers the world price also, which is very unlikely. Import terminals will not reduce gas prices. The Santos Narrabri project, destined to produce more expensive gas than that available from Queensland sites, will not reduce gas prices.

For as long as we continue exporting our gas, only factors capable of changing the world gas price will be sufficient to change the domestic gas price. Allowing more CSG drilling in Australia will not push the world price of gas down. When we unpick the gas industry's myths about coal seam gas, we find the economic case for the Narrabri Gas Project is full of holes. Meanwhile, our knowledge in relation to the true costs of CSG, from negative environmental, health and economic impacts, continues to strengthen. The Greens agree that it is well past time that the industry and the Government got honest about CSG and the Government stepped in to stop the Narrabri Gas Project. [Time expired.]

Read the full transcript here

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