The Meeting Place

Morrison’s gas plan a disaster, says consumer advocate

Leading energy consumer advocate, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has dismissed the government’s plan to increase the supply of gas as a capitulation to lobbyists that is risky, expensive and an ineffective way to help people struggling with high gas prices.

“It is disappointing that the Morrison government has ignored advice from experts and calls from the community in its ‘gas-led recovery’ plans,” said PIAC’s Craig Memery.

“There are myriad ways to kick-start the economy now and help people afford their energy bills in the future.

“Using government money to expand the extraction and use of fossil fuels is not one of them.

“Gas extraction creates very few jobs and subsiding its supply is unlikely to deliver lower gas prices for consumers.

“Instead of sinking taxpayers’ money into unnecessary and uneconomical developments, the government should be using the COVID-19 recovery to help people and businesses struggling with high gas prices either transition away from the fuel or afford it where they can’t,” said Mr Memery.

He explained that public money is better invested in renewable energy and job-rich projects that will help people afford their power bills, such as an energy efficiency scheme for low-income homes.

In June, PIAC joined more than 50 other groups including the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Council of Social Services and National Shelter to call for an energy efficiency and solar installation program for low-income households.

“Improving home energy efficiency creates jobs, helps people lower their energy use and bills, lowers emissions and reduces demand on the grid,” said Mr Memery.

“This proposal was supported by a wide range of community, consumer and business groups, the federal government should support it too.”

The government’s proposals to fund a new gas generator in the Hunter Valley and to underwrite projects such as pipelines are disruptive to the gas and electricity markets and add costs to both Mr Memery explained.

“Existing gas generators have a role in providing short bursts of energy when needed while the energy system becomes completely renewable,” said Mr Memery.

“However, gas is on the way out and the government intervening to build a new gas generator creates uncertainty, mixes signals and makes the transition to renewables costlier.

“Nothing is preventing investment in effective pipelines today,” said Mr Memery. “The government shouldn’t be making investments where the private sector will not.”

The government suggestion of a voluntary industry-led code of conduct for gas companies is unlikely to empower gas consumers.

“If government was serious about affordability it would be imposing regulations on profitable energy businesses not giving them handouts,” said Mr Memery.

What did you think of Morrison’s announcement of a gas-led recovery?


what a stupid and inaccuratd article - we have plenty of gas, coal and uranium and all inclding nuclear shold be in the mix - 

We do have plenty of gas but the government has made no effort to follow the WA government bin reserving sufficient stock for use in this country. We are the largest exporter of gas in the World with overseas countries buying it cheaper that we can. 

Fracking, part of the Government's intention, as been shown overseas to have serious consequences for water supply and air quality. It is however no real surprise when looking at the personnel hand picked fro Scotty's pandemic revocery committee who weere largely fossil fuel excutives and shareholders. Suerly that was unethical.

The LNP have alway touted the mantra "let the market decide" well the market has decided that fossil fuels are NOT the way to go. Not to be undone, and perhaps let political donors down, the taxpayers will be the bunnies in funding this uneconomic project.

Fracking contaminates our water and food supplies. DISCON you need to do some research about fracking.

I have done hundreds of hoursof resaecrh more than the idiots who support and have drank the climate change kool aid - anti Australians the lot of them

Discon, why do you write article after article where you  insult and belittle others, with no proof whatever?

Have you never considered reasoned debate rather than blind asseverations based on nothing?

How could a society or country develop if your methods of communication were held as the norm?

Even if it was obviously destructive would you still adhere to it to the bitter end? 

Do you feel you have the right to push a factless world view that would destroy our planet?


I notice that you are often the first poster on contentious isues, always pushing the right wing response, but only by assertions, - never by facts, and when facts appear you fold like burnt cardboard, - on to the next topic, full of villification, but never wisdom.

Unless you are some sort of Robot, please grow up and educate yourself about the world, - and I don't mean claiming you have educated your self but some provable studies and readable certificates of completion.

Otherwise you will tempt all the rest of us, to regard you as Ox balls, - swinging and yearning to be kicked, - please start studying reality so you can avoid such judgements.




Yes, a silly article but we also have sunlight- a much saner & cleaner fuel. The burning of the fossil fuels is a guaranteed way to poison ourselves as well as a waste of resources. The storage of the solar energy for use in the dark hours can be done - think snowy scheme or even hydrogen gas, etc.  Its time for Oz to move on from being a 'lucky' to a 'smart ' country.

People have to get off the blame train and show some common sense. I am an advocate for clean energy and feel a lot more can be done to honour the Paris Agreement. energy is needed now. It is not feasible to stop using fossil fuels and channel everything into clean energy all at once.

To do so, one has to be prepared to pay sky high prices or go without...are you prepared to do that? The sensible process is to phase out the use of fossil fuels in a balanced and level-headed way but at the same time continuing to pave the way for a cleaner future with renewables always having an eye on the Paris Agreement.

Mr Memery in my opinion is talking through his hat..has he overlooked the fact Australia like everywhere else is battling through a pandemic?  The government, as I see it has no choice at present..recovery is on the agenda.. and.. whatever it takes to do it, is what should be done.

Excellent comment Sophie


Yep we agree on something Sophie.


Thank you gentlemen...

Sophie, a gentle transformation from a failed method of electrical generation is not acheived by building more and ruinously expensive versions of the old failures, but to maximise the construction of the new cheaper power generation, and the making sure by voters that the old problems have been fixed, - not maintained.

Cutting of a finger from your hands that have already had most of them cut off will neither grow more fingers nor create a new hand capable of growing more fingers, - it will only produce less fingers.

Given that Gas plants have already been built but closed because gas is 3 times the cost of Coal as a fuel, how can more gas failures be built?

And how can the price of electricity go down when your feed stock cost is suddenly increased by 3? - particularly when you consider that Solar and Wind have NO feedstock cost? 

Is there some strong and succinct evidence, - easily findable by anyone, to prove that Gas will 1/- be cheaper than coal, and 2.- be cheaper than renewable energy including Batteries?

Like everything Morrison says --, it is more sales talk and he does not know or care he just spouts off with his marketing attitude and has no ----g idea how the hell anything works


Fracking is NOT on,  it is ruining our artesian water, and that we CAN NOT DO WITHOUT we can not be digging up good food farming areas for coal -- and anyone that thinks URANIUM AND NUCLEAR know nothing about the danger this has already caused throughout the world since it was 1st used and is STILL doing so.

Nuclear is also not cheap -- it takes many years to build, and costs a hell of a lot of money AND has a very short life --about 40 or 50 years -- AND it also has waste that is dangerous and is around for many many thousands of years also doing damage,  plus there are also emissions from nuclear plants.





Oh dear!

What is this danger that has been caused and is still doing so?

Please explain so we all know and quote your source of information.

What are the dangers of nuclear you ask


What about Chernobyl/ Fukushima and also the damage the bomb testing done that is still radioactive and will be forever -- you can not see/hear/taste or see it --  even Hiroshima and Nagasaki are STILL radioactive

And the mountains of spent waste, some drums are leaking in oceans, until they can utilize the waste and have a closed loop industry I will always be against nuclear.

You are darn right Ingocnito, the waste is leaking into many places --Oceans/rivers/groundwater/ Plus

Nuclear never goes away -- and continues to kill and maim

If renewables are really so much cheaper, why do we subsidise them to the hilt and why is the power they 'generate' so expensive?

eh? Please provide reference. There have been many reports about the divestment movement, fossil fuels are still heavily subsidised and funded. From 2017 to 2018, global subsidies for the consumption of fossil fuels rose by 30% to roughly USD 400 billion. This is more than double the estimated support for renewable power generation.

Another reference of possible interest.... 

KSS - the subsidies amount to over $10b of taxpayers money wasted over past few years - the rubbish espoused by the renewble energy is astounding.

Look everyone - California is all in the climate change renwables - they have the highest energy costs in USA -over 1 million peoplpe and industires have moved out of Calfornia in pasy year alone.

Look at Trump country - middle america where they have gas, coal, nuclear and the energy costs are where ours were in 2006 - the cheapest in the world.

The renewables crowd are economic morosn and are damaging the compettiveness of Australia and i hate them wigth every breaht in my body

We don't subsidize renewables we subsidize fossil fuels.

I NOTE - the expensive usa areas having the higher costs are where they have deregulated electricity markets!   So, lets move on eh?

I suggest people read what this:

We will never see cheaper energy as long as we have this fossil fuel mob in control, they are all about supporting their own investments, their money donor investors and keeping the dinosaur energy going as long as possible.

Let's look at economics 101. If a product is in short supply, the cost goes up and if a product is in abundance, the cost goes down. NSW and Victoria have made gas exploration almost impossible and if the gas fields are opened up there will be a larger amount of gas available for sale. More product, cost reduces and as an aside, more jobs created, less people on the dole, more people paying tax. Win/win.


AGL is planning on importing gas to be refined in a Ramsar protected wetland area of Westernport bay in Victoria.

There is an abundance of gas in Australia they just export it overseas, then AGL want to buy it back cheap and make a profit.

Read more here:

There are reasons mostly enviromental why we should not open up gas exploration.

And why not just use sun, wind, hydro and hyrdogen?


We can use renewables, Incognito, but they don't give us enough electricity for the baseload required to run industry. All well and good when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing (too much wind is the same as no wind) but present storage is woefully inadequate. The CEO of our local aluminium smelter stated that the smelter can run for 8 minutes on batteries, not much good for a 24/7 industry. Are you aware that the amount of energy needed to make the steel, fabricate the wind turbine, transport it and erect it cannot be made by the wind turbine in its working life?

Horace Cope is absolutely right! HOWEVER, when you switch to renewables you also build in energy storage! Even my blind grandmother would be aware that there's days with no wind and there is a night. Similar with coal, you need a rail line eh?

Why not hydrogen?

Tell us why...what are the pros and cons?

Do you know? Or is it just an idle comment?

When Australian gas fields do not provide enough gas to satisfy their obligations, the domestic market can suffer.

The gas that could have been available to the domestic market is sold on international markets, and Australian gas users are starved of supplies. This has kept domestic prices high.

Maybe the government should be helping people to buy batteries -- instead of putting their money into the coal and gas -- to support their mates


Sophie, if I may add a comment, Hydrogen is a form of storing energy, and has many potential uses, e.g. replacing petrol in cars, but it has two ways of happening.

1/- it is created by breaking down molecules by electricity, water, H20. to Hydrogen and Oxygen, both desirable.

2/- by aneorobic, ie without oxygen. reactions in eg sewerage etc. digesters, a more natural product that needs to have very little outside input, although the main result, - Methane is then treated to become Hydrogen etc. and is also converted by the use of Charcoal in the stomach of eg the cow to produce more cow instead of Methane, - to explore that fascinating avenue please look up Doug Pow on the Internet for a real look at what we can do, - or at least our Cows can do.

That is a bit if a diversion, - I apologise, Digester methane can also be converted to straight Hydrogen, but needs some processing.

Each of these processes has it's pros and cons, what pros and cons about what would you like to explore?


hydrogen makes an excellent storage vehicle & back in the early '70s we were using it for welding! You can also use hydro as a storage means too.  Hydrogen would be good for when wanting to export either as a gas or as amonia, etc.


Any steps Morrison takes today is only a stop gap. The only way to benefit this planet is reliance on renewable energy. There has to be a mix which includes nuclear. Sophie, you are right, the transition will take years but we have to do what is necesary now with what we've got. We already have workable energy sources to keep us going, we are buying tme but that is the course open at the moment.

Luca by all means continue with what we've got BUT no new $s upon any of those existing fossil fuel projects - sorry scottyfrommarketing, you're at least 20 years out of date! Definitely NO to nulear (fission) as its somewhat wasteful but its a possible matter should they ever get fusion to work.

"The rapid advancements in electricity storage, via battery, are likely to tip the scales in favour of renewables as dispatchable energy in the future."

Great article Farside, we have plenty of gas, don't forget too that AGL have a plan to join in and IMPORT gas to liquify it and sell it off for a profit too.

From that article:

When it comes to gas, given we produce vast amounts of the stuff, there shouldn't be any shortages.

The problem is that the exporters — Santos, Origin and Shell — are so far under water on their gas investments, they have decided to maximise profits where they can.

They've been exporting all our low-cost supplies to their markets in Asia and funnelling higher-cost supplies to the domestic market. Even then, the pricing arrangements are so opaque, it's difficult to exactly determine the costs.


it's in my backyard so very familiar with the AGL proposal Incognito. The cost to condense, ship, regas and distribute is almost as much as the contract price for gas before adding the price for the gas itself! Gas prices are not falling any time soon if left to the market and no domestic reservation policy for east cost gas. There is no gas shortage, just a shortage of common sense.

This article is partisan but thinking of gas market as a cartel seems to fit.


I heard that both shires that surround it Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast both are rejecting it. AGL are crooks and so are a few other corporations, from that article you posted Farside, which everyone should read:

Despite our enormous reserves of gas, there are now four gas import terminal projects on the go; four facilities being developed to import gas into Australia. All are backed by major gas market players, either locally or globally.

Although Australia may soon surpass Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of LNG, we have failed to provide gas at a reasonable price for our own people. The market, with the exception of Western Australia, is starved of gas, so domestic prices are among the highest of any country in the world.

As the government won’t intervene to establish a “domestic reservation policy,” the very policy which keeps WA gas prices far more affordable than the eastern states, the gas giants are building import facilities, facilities which will allow them to further profiteer as gas prices continue to rise.

To the four import terminals: there is a terminal proposed for Port Kembla in NSW. This one is backed by Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, JERA and Marubeni. There is another at Cribb Point in Victoria being built by AGL, another still in Victoria for ExxonMobil, and Mitsubishi’s Pelican Point project in South Australia.

All of these major corporations – and one entrepreneur in Andrew Forrest – agree on one thing, they can make money by importing LNG into Australia because the prices paid by Australian consumers are so high. So high are the prices we pay, that these corporate gas giants can absorb the costs of liquefying the gas – turning it into LNG that is – shipping the gas and then re-gasification; that is, turning it back into gas again.

Morrison allowed gas producers to sell all our gas overseas, then when we were going to run short for domestc supplies he said he will mandate a certain percentage be reserved for domestic use, but will not guarantee the price we will have to pay.

We will have to pay the rip off prices of the overseas owners and pay dearly, this will make the price of power extreemly expensive, he cannot say that it willmake power more affordable.

All the solar owners should get together and tell the governments, state and federal, that we will all turn off our solar panels for 3 weeks at the same time, then we will see how much that renewables put into the grid. They will need to build more power stations soon.

The other thing being proposed is that all solar owners will be charged for the power we put into the grid because of the lack of suitable infracture to absorb the input. This is why every house in our streets will not be approved for solar panels, But if it was made easier for each house to have a battery system the grid could handle it.

Invest in the solar and battery installation instead of spending wasted money in carbon capture and storage, this is a farce and they know it will never be viable.

If the use of more batteries and local hubs was established the use of any more power stations would not be needed.

We are never going to get cheap renewable power while the coal and gas industries have the governments by the short and curlies.

Forget fracking, its destructive.

The reduction in Australias polution numbers is not going to happen, the burning of fossil fuels mined in Australia, and burned in overseas countries, is applied to Australias log of polution even though we did not burn it here.

The Chinese and other big poluters say Australia has the highest polution per capita of any other country, this is the reason.

Wake up Australia and see the truth.

I agree, thanks for your sensible comments.

The only problem we have with solar and wind is the infrastructure which is old and needs investment to bring it up to scratch.

Or each town could have their own solar farm and battery storage set up.

But it is all about maximum profits for big corporations.

Yes wake up Australia and stop the economic vandalism on renewables - oh! they tried so hard at last federal election and queenslanders voted on mass to tell me to bugger off - coaltion and fossil fuels supporters wanting cheap affordable and relaible energy wnat coal and gas and if it interesting in resource states of WA and QLD coaltion have 11 or 15 and 23 of 29 seats - smart people unlike the moronic renewable kook aid crowd - god I hate them - un Australain the lot of them

I am with you Oxleigh,  Morrison AND the governments b4 him have sold us out over and over again -- and have sold out our country as well they should be sacked and had up for treason!

They care NOTHING for our beautiful land only ----g money in THEIR pockets!

PlanB did you read the article Farside posted? Australian people have been stooged and will be again.