In his first speech in Parliament for 2014 last night, Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter pushed for better use of LNG in Australia, rather than exporting it.

“We’re currently selling our natural gas overseas, and although that provides a large sugar hit to the economy, it’s actually costing us in lost industrial output.

“For every $12 million gain in export output, we’re giving up $255 million in domestic use, so we’re losing $21 for every $1 we gain from export earnings.”

Mr Katter said the exporting of gas was hiking the price up domestically and that was impacting on industry and on Mount Isa which has 100 per cent reliance on gas fired power stations.

“We now have some of the world’s highest prices for gas domestically and Australian manufacturers are now considering switching from gas to coal as a cheaper energy source.

“In Mount Isa, we don’t have the option of switching to cheaper coal-fired gas.”

The answer was to develop the Mount Isa region as a gas supply hub only for domestic consumption, linking the pipelines from southern Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“This hub would help overcome the dire undersupply of gas for domestic use in Queensland, and it would create jobs in new industry, to help offset more traditional forms of mining.”

Mr Katter said he had written to Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, asking him to honour his pledge to commit $1 million for a feasibility study for a pipeline linking Tennant Creek to Mount Isa and the national pipeline grid.

“Without a gas hub we’ll have more industries like Stanwell Power mothballing its biggest gas fired power station to resurrect a coal facility built in the 1980s.

“Just yesterday US industrial giant Dow Chemical announced it was forced to abandon investments in Australia because of the inaccessibility of natural gas and has lobbied the Federal Government for a change in policy.

“The Prime Minister recently stated: ‘We have the chance to be the affordable energy capital of the world’.

“We need to connect the North West Mineral Province to the national electricity grid and expand the gas distribution network into the Northern Territory,” Mr Katter said.