Dear Minister Taylor,
I write regarding your Departments request for feedback on its ‘Gas-fired recovery plan’, including the National Gas Infrastructure Plan (NGIP) and the establishment of Wallumbilla as the nations ‘Gas Hub’.
Over the past year hundreds of my constituents have written to me on this issue. The overwhelming view is that this is the wrong plan for Australia’s COVID-19 recovery, and the wrong plan for the planet.
As you know, gas is a fossil fuel which when used makes a significant contribution to the climate crisis and causes irreparable environmental damage. Australia should be phasing out the use of gas, not investing further in its use. What’s more, gas does little to create quality well-paying jobs, gas companies are for the most part foreign owned, and little revenue made from the production of gas comes back to the Australian people.
Instead of investing in an expanded gas industry, the Government should listen to experts like Ross Garnaut and the Conservation Council and invest heavily in a renewables-led recovery. Australia has an incredible opportunity to embrace the renewable energy revolution and become a global leader. We have the natural resources, we have the expertise, and we have the capacity to be a superpower in this space, but we also need strong Government support and policy to make it happen.
Every state and territory have now committed to a net-zero emissions target by 2050. Your Liberal Government is the only Australian government which continues to drag its feet. We have a moral imperative to act on climate change - our states and territories recognise this, and it is about time the Commonwealth does as well. Your plan for a ‘gas-fired recovery’ is completely inconsistent with these moral obligations.
I urge you to look to the example of the ACT Government. The ACT Government is one of the world’s leading jurisdictions when it comes to investment in renewables. Last year, our territory achieved the incredible milestone of having 100% of our electricity powered by renewable energy. What’s more, there is a declining demand for gas in the ACT according to Evoenergy, which further suggests that investing in additional gas infrastructure is not needed.
To date, your Government has refused to make public a report from the National COVID19 Coordination Commission which you cite as calling for significant taxpayer subsidies to the gas industry. I call on you to make public the report, it’s terms of reference, and interim or draft consultation reports and the NGIP publications. The Australian people deserve to be able to scrutinise the documents you rely on to justify this ‘gas-fired recovery’ plan.
Member for Canberra