AWU welcomes government gas agreement

AWU

The AWU welcomes the federal government’s agreement with three large east-coast gas suppliers as a positive step for our manufacturing industry during the global energy crisis. Under the deal, exporters must first offer uncontracted gas to the domestic market and not charge domestic consumers more than international customers. AWU Acting National Secretary Stephen Crawford said the agreement rightfully puts domestic manufacturers at the front of the queue for access to Australian resources. ‘This deal reminds multi-national exporters, whose profits have soared during the global energy crisis, that they cannot ignore Australia’s domestic needs,’ he said. ‘Australian manufacturers should not be in the absurd position of paying more for Australian gas than their competitors in Asia.’ The agreement is projected to supply an extra 157 petajoules into the east-coast gas market in 2023. But the AWU believes the government must be prepared to take further action if gas producers don’t follow the agreement or if prices remain high. Mr Crawford said the government must implement a gas reservation scheme on the east coast to shore up Australia’s manufacturing future over the long term. ‘A gas reservation scheme like Western Australia’s would allow our manufacturers to sleep at night knowing they won’t face obliteration every time gas prices spike,’ he said. ‘It would make sure that enough Australian gas is available for the vital businesses that keep our economy moving. ‘As the world’s largest exporter, Australia has a role to support the global demand for gas – but we must put our own businesses first.’ The AWU has been calling for a gas reservation scheme for the past 10 years. It has repeatedly warned that allowing multi-national companies to export our gas without restriction would leave manufacturers dangerously exposed to a domestic price explosion that could lead to closures and thousands of job losses. The AWU is also calling for a windfall tax on multi-national gas companies. ‘These companies have seen their profits soar astronomically due to the Russia-Ukraine war while Australian factories, smelters and plants have been pushed to the wall,’ Mr Crawford said. ‘By asking them to contribute a bit more, we can ensure their profits help Australian businesses.’ More than 800,000 Australians are employed in the $100billion manufacturing industry. Manufacturers consume gas as an energy source and an essential raw material to make products including chemicals, fertiliser, glass and cement.

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