Potential domestic gas crisis through
gas trading exchanges

The Hon Ann Bressington, South Australian Legislative Council member, is challenging the major parties and Greens in the South Australian Parliament, to prioritise the Australian people over profits for multinational resource giants and commit to reserving a percentage of South Australias gas for domestic use.

Ms Bressington said our industries, jobs and hip pockets needed urgent protection from looming massive power price increases commensurate with that paid by foreign buyers set to access South Australian Gas by tapping into Queenslands new gas export technology, via the proposed amendments in the Natural Gas (South Australia) (Gas Trading Exchanges) Amendment Bill 2013, to create a gas trading market through the establishment of Gas Trading Exchanges.

There needs to be a mandated State Gas reservation policy of at least 15% (in line with WA Policy) as well as provisions to de-couple the pricing for domestic Gas from the export price.

This is a matter of both State and National significance that should be front and centre in the amendments to this bill, but dont expect the Labor or Liberal Parties to bite the hand of the largely foreign-owned industry that feeds them, she said.

Ms Bressington said it was commonly accepted that South Australian consumers can expect up to three times current prices, to equal those paid by foreign buyers who are set to access South Australian Gas via the multi-billion-dollar liquefication plants off Gladstone from 2014.

This focus on legislation to support the gas producers, who, in most cases are foreign owned, will have a direct effect on the elderly, sick and disadvantaged, as prices skyrocket beyond the affordability of a large section of the population. Add to this the fact that many have already changed from high priced electricity to gas to provided heating and the plans for the banning of wood fires for heating, how will these people keep warm in winter.

This means not only a significant cost-of-living slug to households, but also risks the viability of industries across South Australia from manufacturing to mining and food processing to fertiliser plants which rely on gas to fuel their intensive energy needs, said Ms Bressington.

I am aware of one manufacturer in South Australia who has a contract due to expire in the next few years that will see an increase in their annual gas bill by nearly double, in excess of $13 million per year, if the new contract is in line with the proposed $9/Gl.

Theyre writing contracts right now in terms of $9 a gigajoule up from $3-$4 a gigajoule, warned Ms Bressington, as a result of information received, after industry meetings in Mount Isa, Queensland recently.

The fertiliser industry, one of the most vital in any country, is already competing with countries that have a reserve policy to keep a percentage of the resource for the home market. But our mining industry, our steel industry, our food processing and manufacturing industries, and particularly the fertiliser industry all are taking a huge hit on the major cost input of electricity.

Just do the maths it adds up to big profits for an industry almost entirely-owned by foreign interests and big losses for Australian householders and industries.

The very least any responsible government would do as a basic duty of care to the State would be to safeguard people and industries by reserving some of the natural resources being exploited purely for the benefit of multinational corporations and ensuring a fair price for South Australians.

Comments Hon. Ann Bressington 0448 887 277