Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged the Turnbull government to bolster investment in new gas pipeline infrastructure.
The call follows the Premier’s visit to the United States for the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, where US businesses urged Australia to release more gas reserves.
“It’s time the Turnbull government stepped up and invested in some pipelines and encouraged gas exploration in Queensland after focusing on southern states in last year’s federal budget,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The US companies criticized Australia for exporting gas at the expense of the domestic market, and also noted gas moratoriums in Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory.
“They see the need to open up more gas reserves. They see opportunities there,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“In terms of gas, the Queensland government has released more than 11,000sq km — the size of the state of Connecticut. US companies like the stable policy for the development of gas and renewables.
“We have been doing the heavy lifting on gas production and policy for a couple of years now.”
APPEA Queensland director Rhys Turner said the Premier was right to focus on infrastructure development to open up new resource provinces.
“The single greatest factor in the growth of the US economy in the past decade has been the development of its own energy reserves, including natural gas,” Mr Turner said.
“The US economy is now powering ahead and its energy-related emissions are at their lowest level since 1991, having fallen about 13 per cent since their peak in 2007. The main reason for this is the increased use of natural gas.”
Mr Turner said Queensland was already Australia’s key energy province and had more promising gas fields that could be developed in the Galilee and Bowen basins.
“While a healthy and vibrant exploration sector is the key to providing tomorrow’s jobs, economic growth and energy security, it can all amount to nothing without infrastructure to get the gas to market,” Mr Turner said.
“The Queensland Premier’s sensible and constructive comments about the need for more investment in pipeline infrastructure should be commended.
“Government investment in productive infrastructure is not a new thing, as long as it provides a public good.
“The public good attached to government investment in pipeline infrastructure is the new energy supplies such pipelines can bring to market and the broader positive impacts this has in terms of supporting jobs and helping to keep downward pressure on prices.”
Mr Turner said illogical moratoriums and government-sanctioned ‘go slows’ in other states mean Queensland must do the heavy lifting in supplying gas to the east coast market.
He said it made sense for the Commonwealth to consider incentivising investment in Queensland pipeline infrastructure as a means of boosting east coast gas supply.