Mixed reactions as Federal Government unveils Future Gas Strategy

The Federal Government has unveiled its Future Gas Strategy, a comprehensive plan aimed at guiding the country's energy transition while ensuring affordability and reliability for consumers and industry alike.


Unveiled today by Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, the government's Future Gas Strategy aims to ensure that gas remains affordable for Australian users throughout the transition to net zero by 2050, while also addressing the need for new sources of gas supply and supporting a reliable trading partnership.

The strategy emphasizes six key principles:

  1. Supporting global emissions reductions: Committing to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
  2. Maintaining affordability: Ensuring gas remains affordable during the transition.
  3. Meeting demand: Developing new sources of gas supply to meet demand.
  4. Transitioning to higher-value uses: Supporting a shift towards higher-value and non-substitutable gas uses.
  5. Adapting markets: Ensuring gas and electricity markets adapt throughout the energy transformation.
  6. Remaining a reliable trading partner: Ensuring reliability in energy trading partnerships.

This commitment consolidates the need for a balanced approach to energy policy, one that supports emissions reductions while ensuring the continued affordability of energy for Australians. However, Minister King did reinforce the government's commitment to reducing emissions, stating unequivocally, "Australia is committed to net zero emissions by 2050."

The strategy also places a strong emphasis on the affordability of gas throughout the transition period. Minister King stressed the importance of keeping gas prices reasonable for Australian users, particularly as the country moves towards a renewable energy grid. "Gas must remain affordable for Australian users throughout the transition to net zero," she said. This commitment to affordability is crucial for households and businesses relying on gas as an energy source.

The Future Gas Strategy recognizes the need for new sources of gas supply to meet increasing demand as the economy transitions. Minister King highlighted the importance of developing these new sources to avoid potential shortfalls in supply. "New sources of gas supply are needed to meet demand during the economy-wide transition," she stated. This acknowledgment of the evolving energy landscape is essential for ensuring a smooth transition to a more sustainable energy future.

The strategy also focuses on supporting a shift towards higher-value uses of gas and adapting markets to remain fit for purpose throughout the energy transformation. Minister King emphasized the importance of this shift, stating, "Reliable gas supply will gradually and inevitably support a shift towards higher-value and non-substitutable gas uses." This shift will not only help drive innovation but also ensure the long-term viability of the gas industry in Australia.

However, the release of the Future Gas Strategy has prompted mixed responses from various stakeholders. The Climate Council, for example, sharply criticized the strategy, labeling it as regressive and warning against increased climate pollution. Dr. Jennifer Rayner of the Climate Council said, "More gas means more climate pollution and a more dangerous future."

On the other hand, the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) welcomed the strategy, particularly its support for domestic manufacturing. AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow said, "Smart, sensible gas policy can actually help us meet our climate commitments." The AWU's endorsement reflects the importance of gas to industries such as manufacturing and reinforces the need for a balanced approach to energy policy.

Despite differing opinions, there is a consensus on the need for action. Tim Buckley, CEO of Climate Energy Finance, urged for investment in zero-emissions solutions. He said, "We need to embrace new low-cost energy solutions as we move to a fully renewable grid." This sentiment reflects the broader recognition of the changing energy landscape and the need for innovative solutions to address climate change.

To read the Future Gas Strategy, go to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources website here.

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