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Unlocking onshore gas needs landholder confidence

"Victoria needs community consent to secure its future gas supply and the policies announced by the Victorian Coalition contain important ideas to earn that support," Australian Industry Group Victorian Head Tim Piper said today.

"We welcome the range of ideas in the Victorian Opposition’s new gas policy, which include several with the potential to build community confidence in gas development. If the community is to support any form of onshore gas it is important that they know their views will be respected and that they will share in the benefits of resource development. Further detail and consultation is needed on these proposals, particularly potential restrictions on selling gas to customers in other States.

"With sensible protections for landholders, and a regulatory regime that all Victorians can be confident will protect the community and environment, our conventional gas resources should be able to be developed. The same ought to be true of unconventional gas resources, which all parties continue to rule out.

"A looming shortfall between supply and demand has driven gas prices to extraordinary levels, in turn driving electricity costs higher and putting industry under intense pressure. A national agreement with gas exporters may give some breathing space, but more options will be needed when this stopgap ends in two years. Victoria’s untapped onshore resources of conventional gas could be a very useful part of the longer-term response. But however big that resource may be, it will only be accessible if the community is comfortable with it – especially landholders directly affected by development.

"New gas resources take years to develop. Ai Group will continue to participate in good faith in current efforts to determine how much onshore conventional gas exists and to consult the community. Whoever governs Victoria next will set the rules on whether and how that resource can lead to gas flowing to industry, power and households. All sides should build on and refine the ideas announced today,” Mr Piper said.

Further Comment:
Tim Piper - 0411 430 301