"As the Port Kembla terminal and other sources of gas supply take shape, they most obviously bring some comfort to heavy industries reliant on gas: more supply, more competition and a shakeup to an often-opaque market are welcome. But there are also important benefits for the larger number of businesses who depend on electricity.
"Prices for electricity and gas are easing from the highs of 2017, but they remain far above historical levels and are a big concern for industry. The high price of gas has played a big role in driving the high price of electricity, with gas-fired generators currently filling significant parts of the gap left by the retirement of coal-fired generators. Large amounts of renewable energy will enter the market over the next few years, but gas-fired generators will still frequently balance the market and set the price.
"One of the factors driving gas prices so high has been scarcity, with supply set to fall short of surging export demand. We are unlikely to return to the very low gas prices that Eastern Australia used to enjoy. But more supply, along with demand side efficiencies, can help prevent the extraordinary gas prices of 2017 from returning. Bringing LNG in through Port Kembla is one very important element of that. And there are benefits for jobs in the construction phase which will be good for the region immediately.
"We look forward to more announcements about the further projects needed to sustain Eastern Australia's gas security," Mr Willox said.
Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347