November 9, 2016 Read More →

Australian Lobbyists for Natural Gas Industry Seek to Persuade Public of Its ‘Long-Term Necessity’

A coalition of natural gas lobby groups are planning a coordinated campaign to convince Australians gas is “a long-term necessity,” top industry lobbyists have revealed.

They also disclosed plans to undermine government attempts to regulate sections of the industry that have been identified by the competition watchdog for price gouging by offering the federal environment minister “something he can announce” – but which would not amount to regulation.

The president of the Australian Pipeline and Gas Association, Shaun Reardon, told a meeting of the gas industry in Perth last month that the industry had agreed on a message to sell to the public, the industry website Energy News Bulletin reported.

“Our objective is to have gas acknowledged as a long-term necessity by policymakers and the public,” Reardon was reported as saying.

The chief executive of gas association, Cheryl Cartwright, told Guardian Australia that representatives of each of the industry lobby groups had “agreed to a united view regarding gas.”

Cartwright said the industry needed to “improve the public perception of natural gas.”

Bruce Robertson, an analyst at the pro-renewable Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the industry was overdue for regulation.

“The pipeline companies are gouging the consumer,” he said. “They know it and are fearful that sensible regulation as to price and capacity will come in. Essentially gas transmission pipelines are natural monopolies and Australia is unique in the western world at not regulating them.

“The US has far better disclosure rules and still heavily regulates them. In Australia we need both far more comprehensive disclosure on a pipeline by pipeline basis and also strong regulation. Regulation of monopolies is not anti market. No market exists and hence the need for regulation.”

Full article: Natural gas lobby plans campaign to convince Australians of ‘long-term necessity’

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