Workers’ Union says ‘gas-led recovery’ just for foreign nations

Kurri Kurri $1 billion energy deal Scott Morrison gas prices
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Image: Naresh777 / Shutterstock.com

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has struck a huge deal with large LNG exporters on Australia’s east coast, a move that the Australian Workers’ Union says will not benefit Australian workers.

The two-year deal will mean LNG exporters can offer uncontracted gas first to domestic companies, avoiding formal price controls.

“Gas is critical to our economic recovery and this agreement ensures Australian businesses and families have the gas supply they need at the cheapest possible price,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is about making Australia’s gas work for all Australians, while also supporting economic growth and backing important ­regional jobs in our expanding LNG sector.

“As part of our JobMaker plan we are delivering more Australian gas where it is needed at an internationally competitive price. This particularly includes manufacturing businesses who employ more than 850,000 Australians, many of which rely on gas to operate.”

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AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said after years of tough talk, Scott Morrison’s capitulation to LNG exporters today was acutely disappointing.

“By rejecting price controls, or any other measures to ensure Australian gas reaches Australian employers at a reasonable price, Mr Morrison’s deal is basically identical to the weak and pointless bargain negotiated by Malcolm Turnbull,” Mr Walton said.

“This deal sells out Australian manufacturing workers to benefit a handful of multinational giants who extract our gas and export it to Asia.

“Australia is lucky enough to have some of the most abundant gas reserves in the world. Morrison’s deal ensures that advantage will be squandered as our local manufactures cop gas prices higher than global competitors. This deal ensures Australians will continue to pay more for our own gas than foreigners.

“What was the point of the months of tough talk about price controls and gas reservation if this spineless capitulation was the end point? At least Malcolm’s weak backdown happened quicker.

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“The only difference between Turnbull’s backdown and Morrison’s is Malcolm preferred his gas boss photo opps in boardrooms with cups of tea, and Scott prefers high-vis dress ups. But the result for workers is exactly the same.

“The only way multinational gas procurers will ever sell Australia’s gas to Australian factories at a reasonable price is if the government makes them. Anyone claiming otherwise is either gullible or lying.

“We should be expanding Australia’s gas sector, but there’s not a great deal of point if we don’t use that gas to boost employment and economic growth. Affordable gas is critical if Australia’s wants to firm renewables and transition to a clean energy future.”