Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP has been advocating inside the Coalition Government Party room for aggressive intervention into the gas market to assist in bring down the price of energy.
At an extraordinary meeting on 7 October 2016, Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Ministers agreed to an independent review of the national electricity market to take stock of its current security and reliability and to provide advice to governments on a coordinated, national reform blueprint.
The final report was delivered on 9 June to COAG and the Federal Government has since been examining its recommendations.
Mr Pasin has been a fierce and vocal member of the Government on this issue both publically and behind closed doors with Cabinet Ministers and the backbench.
“My main priority is that Government reform in this space needs to drive down price first and foremost. The only way to do that is to increase energy supply. That must come from baseload sources, as baseload power anchors our electricity system,” Mr Pasin said.
“Gas is a big part of this equation and for a long time gas companies have been exporting a lot of what they extract from Australian reserves. This needs to be reformed.
“There is a diminished supply of gas on the domestic market because companies are making more money exporting it offshore. If it’s extracted from Australia then the first priority should for Australians on the domestic market,” Mr Pasin said.
This week in Canberra the Prime Minister announced a suit of measures to address the issue which included finalising tough new regulations in the gas sector to give Australian customers priority access to gas supply before it is exported. This measure will commence on July 1.
“This is a fantastic start but there is still work to do,” said Mr Pasin.
“I’m not convinced that this will go far enough to ensure power prices are reduced enough. I’m not sure it will have a significant effect on price.
“I want to see a more aggressive policy implemented. Policy mechanisms such as a gas reserve for example. This would quarantine supply that would result in significantly lower prices,” said Mr Pasin.
Renewables still have a role to play in the mix according to Mr Pasin but the emphasis cannot continue to be on wind and solar alone.
“The South Australian Labor Government have proved that their policy of 50 per cent renewable energy target which was focused so heavily on solar and wind without appropriate storage is a recipe for disaster.
“I’m a big fan of renewable wood waste for bioenergy. There is a ready and available supply of organic waste from forestry and agriculture that could be used to generate baseload renewable power.
“For a long time other countries around the world have been reducing their emissions using biofuels from wood waste. Australia exports large quantities of wood waste overseas for other countries for use in co-firing operations that contribute towards lowering emissions overseas. There is so much opportunity for Australia domestically in this space. This would bring massive opportunities to the forestry sector locally,” Mr Pasin said.
Contact: Charlotte Edmunds – 8531 2466