The peak body representing Australia’s oil and gas industry has slammed the Victorian Government for vowing to rule out hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – in Victoria for good by enshrining a ban in the state’s constitution.
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) says the move to write the ban on hydraulic fracturing into the constitution is “absurd” and marks a new low point in Daniel Andrews’ “deliberate campaign to drive up Victorian gas prices and encourage manufacturing business to leave the state”.
With the Victorian state election days away, APPEA says the move is a push for votes, but the Premier says it’s to protect the state’s agriculture industry.
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“Labor introduced the fracking ban and only Labor will keep the ban for good – backing our hard-working farmers and protecting our world-class food and fibre industry, which employs close to 200,000 Victorians,” Mr Andrews said.
APPEA chief executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said the Victorian Government’s continued pretence that onshore gas development and farming cannot co-exist came as Victorian gas production continues to fall and the state is increasingly reliant on gas supply piped from Queensland.
“Daniel Andrews’ populist push for inner urban votes will increase the price all Victorians pay for gas – and risks sending Victorian manufacturing jobs to Queensland and the Northern Territory; jurisdictions where Labor governments permit the safe, sustainable development of their gas resources,” Dr Roberts said.
“Unless new gas resources in Victoria are developed, families and businesses in the state will pay more than those in states continuing to develop new supply.
“As the ACCC has pointed out; shipping gas from Queensland to southern customers adds $2 to $4 in transport costs.”
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The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has recently approved 2019 gas distribution tariffs submitted by three Victorian gas distributors: Australian Gas Networks, AusNet Services and Multinet Gas.
Tariffs will rise from 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent, a modest increase the regulator says are required for distributors to continue to provide a safe and reliable service.
In Victoria, distribution charges make up approximately a third of an average residential customer’s gas bill.
The Victorian Government was contacted for comment.