Questions without notice – Energy

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Mr O’DOWD: My question is to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia. Will the minister outline how the Morrison government’s gas-fired recovery through the Beetaloo Basin is supporting the economy and explain how the gas industry is backing workers across regional Australia?

Mr PITT: I thank the honourable member for Flynn for his question. We know the ‘fighter for Flynn’ is very keen on the gas industry. In fact, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have been down at Auckland House in the member’s electorate, where you can see LNG exports leaving from Gladstone and see all of the jobs being driven by the resources sector, including gas.

I am asked about the Beetaloo Basin and supporting the economy. This government has struck out with strategic basin plans into the Beetaloo and other areas. In the Beetaloo, we are investing some $224 million to get this strategic basin online. It is our intention to make sure that the basin is delivered earlier than it would have been otherwise. Included in the $224 million is $50 million to drive additional exploration, some 10 additional wells in that area by 2022. What will this do? This will help drive confidence into the basin. Business will do the rest. If the resource is known, if the resource is 2P, if they know that it is there, they will deliver the rest that is needed for this country. What will be the outcome? We expect, from the territory, that that could drive up to 6,000 jobs over the next 20 years—6,000 jobs. It is about jobs, jobs right across the country, including in manufacturing.

Back in Queensland, strategic basin plans—we just announced the North Bowen and Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, nearly $21 million in new funding. I’m told that technically this area is very difficult. It is described as a tough nut. It is a tough nut to crack in the Galilee in terms of getting this gas into the domestic market. More gas means better prices, which means more manufacturing, which means more jobs. We will have more to say about further strategic basins as we advance.

We on this side know others have a different view and are opposed to what we want to do. We want to see more gas. We want to see more gas into electricity. We want to see more things like we’ve announced in recent weeks in New South Wales—electricity which is affordable, which is reliable, which relies on gas. We have to ensure that we have a pipeline of projects into the future to make sure that gas is delivered on time in a reliable way with an affordable price to make sure that we are competitive internationally, because a competitive gas price helps drive jobs into manufacturing, and we want to see more manufacturing onshore. It is those jobs which will add on. It is those downstream positions, those downstream opportunities that will help Australia become once again a powerhouse in manufacturing for industry that drives our exports into the world. We have a plan to drive more gas into our area. There are those who have a different view. Their view is that there will be no gas.

The SPEAKER: No, the minister was not actually asked about alternatives.

Mr PITT: We will continue to drive more strategic basins. The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction is doing a great job on more pipelines and we— (Time expired)

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