Scott Morrison says a $53 million government investment in the gas industry will bring down household bills and support the creation of at least 4,000 jobs.
The prime minister wants to increase exploration to find new gas reserves and will set state and territories higher targets to encourage them to produce more.
It comes after The Australian Energy Market Operator warned that southern states could suffer shortages from 2024 as several Victorian gas fields run out.
Scott Morrison (pictured) will aim to bring household gas bills down and support at least 4,000 jobs by investing $53million in Australia’s gas industry this year
Plans will be drawn up to develop five key gas basins starting with the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and the North Bowen and Galilee Basin (pictured) in Queensland
Mr Morrison also wants to develop an Australian Gas Hub – where gas can be efficiently traded – at Wallumbilla in Queensland.
And he wants to set up code of conduct to help commercial and industrial buyers get fair prices when they buy gas from major suppliers.
Plans will be drawn up to develop five key gas basins starting with the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and the North Bowen and Galilee Basin in Queensland.
The government will also set aside $10.9million to invest in pipelines and other infrastructure under a National Gas Infrastructure Plan.
Mr Morrison will work with state governments to accelerate three critical projects – the Marinus Link, Project Energy Connect and VNI West interconnectors.
‘These links will help put downward pressure on prices, shore up the reliability of our energy grid and create over 4,000 jobs,’ the Prime Minister said.
‘Our plan for Australia’s energy future is squarely focused on bringing down prices, keeping the lights on and reducing our emissions and these interconnectors bring us a step closer to that reality.’
Mr Morrison added: ‘We’ll work with industry to deliver a gas hub for Australia that will ensure households and businesses enjoy the benefits of our abundant local gas while we hold our position as one of the top global liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters.
‘This is about making Australia’s gas work for all Australians. Gas is a critical enabler of Australia’s economy.
Mr Morrison also wants to develop an Australian Gas Hub – where gas can be efficiently traded – at Wallumbilla in Queensland. Pictured: The Galilee Basin in Queensland
‘Our competitive advantage has always been based on affordable, reliable energy. As we turn to our economic recovery from COVID-19, affordable gas will play a central role in re-establishing the strong economy we need for jobs growth, funding government services and opportunities for all.’
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said reliable and affordable gas was more important now than ever.
‘A gas-fired recovery will help Australia’s economy bounce back better and stronger while supporting our growing renewable capacity and delivering the reliable and affordable energy Australians deserve,’ Minister Taylor said.
‘We are building a robust and competitive gas industry that will allow both gas producers and users to thrive, with lower prices and lower emissions benefiting all Australians.’
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Government’s Gas Plan would drive job creation and economic growth in northern and regional Australia.
‘This commitment will encourage investment to unlock Australia’s vast resources potential – boosting exports, jobs and energy supplies,’ Minister Pitt said.
‘Developing Australia’s untapped gas resources will help to deliver more affordable and more sustainable gas supply that supports households and businesses.’
Gas supports the manufacturing sector, which employs over 850,000 Australians and is an essential input in the production of plastics for PPE and fertiliser for food production.
Scott Morrison has announced a $211million plan to keep fuel prices ‘as low as possible’ as the nation emerges from the coronavirus-caused recession
In 2019, Australia was the largest exporter of LNG, with an export value of $49billion.
The International Energy Agency has found that coal-to-gas switching has saved around half a billion tonnes of emissions since 2010 – equivalent to putting an extra 200 million electric vehicles on the road running on zero carbon electricity.
In total, the government has set aside $52.9million for the gas industry in the 2020-21 Budget
It expects to comfortably meet its Paris emissions targets for 2030.
On Thursday Mr Morrison announced a $211million plan to keep fuel prices ‘as low as possible’ as the nation emerges from the coronavirus-caused recession.
The prime minister wants to protect the nation from any future ‘price shocks’ by increasing domestic fuel storage and supporting local oil refineries.
New domestic storage facilities to hold 780ML of diesel will be built at a cost of $200million, creating 950 jobs during construction.
The government will also pay refineries to stay open and turn oil into fuel when they may otherwise close because they are struggling to make money.