A Morrison government report into the obvious solution to the gas crisis – a domestic gas reservation policy – is being hidden by Energy Minister Madeleine King’s Energy Department. Rex Patrick has sought access to the document but now the government has hired big-charging law firm Clayton Utz to fight him. Rex Patrick reports.
We’re in the middle of self-inflicted gas price crises. Everyday Australians and businesses are suffering from high gas prices (which also cause high electricity prices), not because there’s a shortage of gas, but because successive governments have handed over the keys to our natural gas resources to a cartel. The cartel has profited from Australia’s gas while biting the hand that’s been feeding them.
There’s been some interventions in the gas market recently with a temporary cap put on prices and positive modifications to the ADGSM (the “gas trigger” that allows gas exports to be curtailed). But the real long-term solution is to impose a gas reservation scheme. That’s something Western Australia put in place in 2006, which has successfully kept WA gas prices between $5 and 7 dollars per gigajoule (the Albanese price cap is $12)
In response to a negotiation I had with the Morrison Government in 2019, the Department of Industry, Resources and Science conducted a consultation with stakeholders about a gas reservation scheme and went on to produce both a ministerial brief and an options paper. Last year I used Freedom of Information laws to seek access to the outcome of the consultation. A brief and options paper exist, but the public is not allowed to see them on purported public interest grounds.
In the middle of a gas crises, the Albanese government thinks it’s not in the public interest for a professionally prepared gas reservation scheme ministerial brief and options paper to be made available to the public!
Naturally I’ve appealed that crazy decision.
So, what’s the scam?
Knowing they’re facing an uphill battle in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Government’s gone to the top end of the town and engaged Clayton Utz to defend their secrecy claim.
That right, the government is now using a truck load of your money to have high end lawyers try to keep a gas crisis solution (that you also paid to have analysed) from you.