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Issue #1646      July, 9, 2014

CSG mining will push up the price

Coal seam gas companies cannot be trusted to act in the interests of domestic gas users when their east coast export hubs have already led to massive domestic gas price hikes, the Lock the Gate Alliance has warned.

Campaign coordinator for Lock the Gate Carmel Flint said vague promises by the companies to keep prices down and sell cheaply to local customers in NSW rang hollow.

Flint was responding to comments by Resources Minister Anthony Roberts that increased gas production “in NSW for NSW” would put downward pressure on prices.

“The spiralling cost of gas in NSW has nothing to do with a so-called gas shortage and everything to do with the fact that most of the gas on the eastern seaboard has been earmarked for export overseas, forcing local consumers to pay world prices,” Flint said.

“Exactly how the Minister expects this ad hoc system of wafty promises for “gas for NSW” to work is not explained. Neither does he explain how prices could possibly fall under a system that relied on CSG companies deciding what and where to sell.

“If the Minister was serious about making sure NSW gas consumers were protected from exposure to world pricing then he would pursue safe alternatives to unconventional gas, lock in conventional supplies, and properly regulate gas prices in the public interest.

“He is doing nothing of the sort but is claiming that companies like Santos and AGL will extract coal seam gas and sell it at a reduced cost to local consumers. It sounds like he is living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Flint said it was concerning that the government was attempting to push CSG mining at the expense of other viable industries like agriculture and then attempt to spin a line that it would actually benefit householders by bringing down prices.

“We have more than enough conventional gas in eastern Australia to meet domestic needs but instead of using our gas supplies to benefit manufacturing and to bring down the cost of living to domestic consumers the government is allowing it to be shipped overseas to benefit a few, mostly overseas, shareholders.

“Unconventional gas mining is simply not safe. It’s a risky business, and our land, our water and our health are more valuable than this high-risk polluting industry which has already driven up our cost of living,” she said.

Next article – Newman surrender a win

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