“NSW got $3 billion. Us? Nothing,” Dr Lynham said. “Here we have this massive gift to NSW. It’s wrong.”
“We have had nothing for increasing our gas supplies in Queensland… We received no phone calls for the NSW initiative. (David) Littleproud and (Matt) Canavan are honorary cockroaches, because they are not standing up for Queensland, they should put on a blue gurnsey.”
Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said he had “productive discussions” on mutually beneficial projects that could underpin a bilateral deal with Queensland.
“The Commonwealth is particularly interested in the electrification of Curtis Island and the energy needs of central and north Queensland,” Mr Taylor said.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio faces an intense debate over her government’s ban on onshore conventional and fracking gas development.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said unlocking domestic gas supply was “central” to his government’s agenda.
“We need to get the gas from under our feet,” Mr Morrison said.
Ms D’Ambrosio has said Victoria wouldn’t cede to federal demands to lift its onshore gas bans as a condition for a bilateral deal, and criticised the Morrison government’s lack of national co-ordination.
“We’re tired of waiting for the federal government to develop a national climate and energy policy,” she said.
Santos is developing the Narrabri gas project, a potential source for the 70 petajoules required by NSW. It has committed to supply all the production from Narrabri to the east coast market.
A company spokesperson said it had previously cut deals to shift gas to users in Victoria and South Australia “without prohibitive costs”.
Chief executive of Brickworks, Australia’s biggest brick maker and a heavy gas user, Lindsay Partridge said his company was under significant strain from high gas prices and uncertain supply, and welcomed the potential new supply from the Narrabri project.
“We are relying on it coming through to the market. We have committed to a new plant but if it (Narrabri) doesn’t get approved by mid-year it will be reviewed.”
Energy Users Association chief executive Andrew Richards said the deal between the federal and NSW governments was a “terrific” collaboration.
Gas prices had fallen from recent highs of $20 a gigajoule but were still too high, hovering between $8 to $12 with uncertainty over long term supply, he said.
“We understand in Victoria there has been some real emotion associated with fracking” Mr Richards said – noting his organisation also supported a moratorium on the controversial gas extraction technique.
“But we’ve been getting conventional gas from Victoria for donkey’s years and there is no reason the government should have a moratorium.
“Perhaps the quid pro quo for a deal in Victoria could be to lift the moratorium, and require significant volumes go to domestic supply.”
Mike is the climate and energy correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.