Experts warn gas protectionism will backfire

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14 August 17, 1:55pm Santos-ENGIE South Australian gas supply deal is latest demonstration of gas industry commitment to domestic market https://t.co/ZPEfyOYPcQ
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by APPEALtd
11 August 17, 2:56pm LNG export controls would jeopardise the future investment that is needed to maintain gas supply. #auspol https://t.co/YoXidSQXkS
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by APPEALtd
11 August 17, 2:29pm QLD LNG industry has delivered large-scale development of #CSG. Making big contribution to economy & energy security https://t.co/YoXidSQXkS
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by APPEALtd
4 August 17, 3:42pm LNG exports to surge over next 2 years. Expected to contribute almost ½ percentage point to annual GDP growth: RBA https://t.co/f7hCoofnbu
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by APPEALtd

Federal Labor’s resurrection of a pledge to introduce a ‘national interest’ test for new LNG export projects, is simply bad policy.

This is not just a view from the industry.

Every credible, independent review has confirmed that interventionist policies put investment at risk and, over time, threaten supply.

Others, such as former Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, have voiced strong opposition to the proposal.

“Surely any responsible government, any responsible political party, would not be about undermining investor confidence in Australia by talking about a national interest test, but would actually be working with private investors to remove barriers to investment”, Mr Ferguson said.

Respected Australian Financial Review columnist Matthew Stevens drew on Western Australia’s experience of a gas reservation policy, describing it as one that “doesn’t work”.

Stevens wrote, “it does not promote investment in projects that could be supported by domestic markets and it unnecessarily complicates investment in export projects”.

He was backed by an AFR editorial that stated that a national interest test amounted to interrupting the growth of a new export industry by lumbering it with a “new form of industry protectionism”.

The ACCC’s recent report into the east coast gas market warned that reservation policies, such as a national interest test, would “weaken incentives for further gas exploration and appraisal”.

As the ACCC and the COAG Energy Council have noted, the best response to concerns about domestic gas supply and rising prices is to bring more gas to market.

The ‘national interest’ test will not achieve this.