The recent ALP Conference considered the issues raised in the “Reserve our Gas” campaign and, in response, carried the following amendments to Labor’s Policy Platform in relation to Australian gas resources:
“95. Labor recognises that developing Australia's natural gas resources requires sharing the benefits equitably between producers, users and the owners of the gas, the Australian community. Labor is committed to ensuring that the Australian community maintain equitable access to Australia's abundant gas reserves and receives a fair return on the profits made from extracting our resources, while keeping our resources sector strong and sustainable into the future.
“96. Labor recognises that exporting Australia's natural gas is in the interests of all Australians when appropriately managed and balanced against domestic needs of both households and industry. Labor also recognises the vital role that gas plays in Australia's energy and industry competitiveness, particularly in manufacturing. Labor acknowledges the key role that natural gas will play in a clean energy future. For these reasons, in government Labor will introduce a national interest test to ensure that the government is satisfied that gas to be exported is in, and maximises, the national interest.”
A gas reservation imposes a requirement that producers must reserve a fixed volume or proportion of gas for household use, power generation and local manufacturing consumers. Unfortunately, this response may actually lead to price increases.
As you may be aware a gas reservation system currently exists in Western Australia, but there is no clear evidence that it is having the desired effect, and one is legislated for but is as yet inactive in Queensland.
Federal Labor believes that gas has, and will continue to play, a vital role in Australia’s energy mix and for this reason we have amended our policy to develop a national interest test in regard to gas exports.