Gas lobby scare campaign ignores the fact USA and Canada have national interest tests

Thursday 19th May 2016 0:00

The Australian Workers’ Union has slammed the fear mongering of big gas interests, critical of Labor’s policy of a national interest test on new gas projects.

Yesterday, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen announced that a Shorten Labor Government would introduce a national interest test, similar to schemes in place in the USA and Canada.

The scheme would examine new gas projects to assess whether they would have a potentially detrimental effect on household budgets or Australian jobs. Conditions could be applied to a project, including the reservation of a portion of gas extracted for domestic use.

AWU National Secretary Scott McDine said Labor’s policy has established precedent internationally, and the complaints of the gas lobby should be dismissed.

“The hypocrisy of these multinational gas exporters is incredible,” Mr McDine said.

“They operate in the US, which has a national interest test. They operate in Canada, which has a national interest test. Yet they want to try and convince us that if Australia introduces a national interest test the sky will fall in and we’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.

“The fact is most gas rich countries go much, much further than the US or Canada when it comes to the measures they have in law to ensure their population benefits from gas export.

“Australia sits alone by handing over the keys to our reserves to foreign gas multinationals and that time should now be at an end.

“What Labor has proposed is a moderate and sensible approach that balances the interests of everyone.

“We should call today’s bleating from the big gas lobby for what it is: an appeal to get a special deal from Australian taxpayers that it doesn’t get from anywhere else.

“The lobbying of former unionist and MP Martin Ferguson merely proves he is now willing to dance to whatever tune he is paid to. Martin’s views represent nothing more than his employers’ interests. He is a hired gun prepared to sell out his values to the highest bidder, in this case, big oil and gas. In our show we have a word to describe someone like that – a rat.

“Make no mistake, if a national interest test is introduced by a Shorten Labor Government, multinational gas exporters will still be able to make huge profits from exporting Australia’s gas. The difference will be that Australian households and Australian jobs won’t be sacrificed in the process.

 “The Australian people are now only one vote off finally bringing the nation up to speed with the sensible measures already in place in other gas exporting nations.”

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