Gas Ban Bad for Jobs

October 2nd, 2015

Industry, major business groups and unions are among the many voices to express their alarm at the Victorian Opposition’s policy backflip, putting a five-year block on responsible development of natural gas and casting a shadow on business investment.

Consumers and small businesses, including agricultural businesses, ought to be concerned as well.

Victoria is the nation’s biggest consumer of gas – millions of people use it to heat their homes and cook their meals; industry needs it for manufacturing; and thousands of small businesses rely on it, including many dairy, pig farming, fish breeding and other agricultural enterprises.

Victoria has depended on Bass Strait supplies since the Bolte era, but that source will not last forever.

The ACCC this month declared that Australia is one of the few countries in the world to have a lack of certainty of supply, referring specifically to the east coast.  The ACCC was confirming what the industry has been saying for the past two years:  without responsible, environmentally sensitive development of onshore resources, we face the prospect of price increases and shortages on the East Coast.

Manufacturing Australia, the Energy Users Association of Australian, Industry Australia Group  and the Australian Workers Union have all warned of business closures, saying tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic output are at risk.

Are higher prices and job losses what most Victorians want?  Hopefully, cold showers will sharpen popular thinking before job losses do.

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