Victoria’s Liberal and National parties have changed tack – and backed natural gas development.
In a welcome step forward toward science and common sense, the Opposition has embraced conventional gas development as a policy difference compared with the Labor Government, which has a blanket ban on natural gas development.
With a recognition of the need for more gas in Victoria, Liberal and Nationals leaders Matthew Guy and Peter Walsh have increased the pressure on the Victorian Government to change its illogical blocker on gas development.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews implemented a ban on all natural gas development after being elected in 2014.
The Prime Minister and a number of former Ministers from Labor and Liberal have derided the ban, saying it is based on green politics rather than environmental science or economic sense.
Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett described it as “criminal” and SA Senator Nick Xenophon called it “absurd”.
A key point in the new Victorian Coalition policy is that it sets aside a 10% royalty payment to farmers for any gas sourced from beneath their land.
This is a step taken in South Australia as well, where the need for more gas has been acknowledged by the (Labor) Government there.
The extra incentive to landholders is designed to ensure that farmers make a thoughtful decision re gas development on their properties – rather than taking a negative stance based on unsubstantiated claims made by anti-gas activists.
According to Mr Guy today:
“Victorians will have a clear choice on energy policy at the next election (in a year’s time).
“It will be a choice between Daniel Andrews’ energy policies that puts Greens voters first or the Liberal Nationals’ policies that will put Victorians first.
“Allowing the private sector to locate new sources of gas will help to bring more supply into the Victorian energy market and reduce cost pressures.
The Coalition announcement went on to criticise Victorian Government energy policy more broadly:
“A combination of decisions by Daniel Andrews has contributed to the sky-rocketing costs of electricity and gas.
“The Andrews Labor Government’s ideological decision to triple the taxes on Victorian brown coal and pursue a go-it-alone 40% Victorian Renewable Energy Target, as well as banning all new sources of conventional onshore gas, has set off a chain reaction that led to the sudden closure of the Hazelwood power station, massive increases in energy prices and a dependence on Tasmania and New South Wales for reliable electricity.
“The conventional gas industry has successfully existed in Victoria for decades and together with Victoria’s world-class brown coal reserves, has previously been responsible for our state’s position as Australia’s low-cost energy power house.”