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Ai Group congratulates Keith Pitt on his appointment as Resources Minister

"This is a challenging and vital portfolio, particularly with respect to the slow-motion crisis that is the Eastern Australian gas market," Mr Willox said.

"The Government’s emergency export control powers, reconfirmed by the outgoing Minister, helped stave off a shortage of contractable gas and consequent sky-high prices in 2017. But while supply now looks secure, prices have only fallen so far. Export pressures, not local supply or demand, remain the dominant factor. Gas users are bearing substantially higher costs today than a decade ago, and this threatens the long term viability of critical industries.

"The already-announced review of a possible prospective domestic gas reservation is a big job and we look forward to working with Minister Pitt and his Department on it. Any intervention Australia adopts – whether a reservation, national interest assessment, strengthened export controls or otherwise – needs to actually work and deliver long-term benefits to energy users.

"Detail is going to matter. And since Australia’s less favourable geology and geography seem to condemn us to higher gas production and transport costs than the United States, we are also going to need to look to greater efficiency and substitution options. The gas policy challenge for Minister Pitt and his colleagues covers the field: supply, demand, and the markets in between,” Mr Willox said.

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Tony Melville – 0419 190 347