VOICES FOR THE EARTH: Concerns over CSG fuel false claims

ON FEBRUARY 9, NSW Minister for Energy Anthony Roberts was reported in The Northern Star as claiming that last year the state came within a hair's breadth of "catastrophic" gas shortages because of the lack of a local supply.

This was the reason given for a plan to issue gas licences around the middle of the year to NSW companies which would supply gas to the local rather than the export market.

Since then, interestingly, there has been silence on this new move by the government to encourage controversial gas mining in NSW.

The claim of a gas shortage from the NSW Government is not new. It has been made on numerous occasions as a counter to community concerns about the threats posed by the invasive and environmentally damaging CSG-unconventional gas industry.

APPEA, the industry body for the gas and oil industry, has been pushing the gas shortage claim to government, despite the fact that NSW has been and continues to obtain its gas from interstate. And our gullible government has accepted this line.

According to business columnist Michael West, scaremongering by the APPEA industry lobby group and miner AGL two years ago "helped producers to whisk through 17% retail price rises at the cusp of the biggest crash in global oil and gas prices in decades".

"The gas cartel has managed to convince the Australian public that when global gas prices are high, we should pay global prices and when global prices are low we should pay 60% more than the global price," he said.

Mr West points out that this inflated price is happening when Australia, currently the world's second largest gas exporter, will soon become the largest.

In December, Morgan Stanley commented that the fact that export gas was cheaper than domestic was not socially or politically acceptable.

Our state and federal governments apparently don't understand this.

Leonie Blain

Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition

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