Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Questions without Notice
To the Prime Minister: the government's economically short-sighted obsession with a gas-led recovery is currently going so far as to consider supporting an exploration licence for gas off the east coast from Newcastle to Manly, known as PEP 11. The adjacent coastal area has a gross regional product of over $50 billion, much of which is from tourism. PEP 11 could put all that at risk and is opposed in all communities along the coast, including in the government's own member for Mackellar's electorate. Will you rule out gas exploration and gas rigs being approved by your government off our coast?
I thank the member for an important question about gas and the role that gas can play in our economy and in Australia's recovery from the pandemic. Of course, any gas project that meets stringent environmental approvals, both state and federal, should proceed, but it does have to meet those preconditions.
I was up in the Beetaloo Basin just last week and, of course, there we see a world-class gas resource that needs to be developed, where approvals have to occur in the right way—and this is the crucial point in answer to your question—and where, in that way, we will get more jobs, more investment, more opportunity for blue-collar workers, and that is absolutely crucial right across this great nation. To do that we have to unlock supply. We have to see investment in efficient transportation and pipeline infrastructure. And we do have to see customers empowered. We want to see Australian gas working for all Australians. We are absolutely united on this issue, because we want to see the 850,000 people working in manufacturing in this country with the affordable, reliable supply of energy they need for their jobs, for their prosperity and for their regions That is our focus, and we are absolutely united on this issue, unlike those opposite, who have no plan for gas and no plan for reliable, affordable electricity for this great nation.