THURSDAY, 5 OCTOBER 2017
SUBJECT/S: Gas price crisis.
JASON CLARE: Today the Prime Minister’s met with State Premiers and Chief Ministers in Canberra to talk about national security. From what we’ve seen this is a good example of political leaders working together in the national interest. There’s been overwhelming agreement on what needs to happen. So much so that this meeting has wrapped up by lunchtime. What Turnbull should do is use the rest of the day to focus on nutting out a solution to the energy crisis in this country. In particular the gas price crisis.
For the last few weeks Turnbull has been attacking Premiers across the country, left right and centre about gas prices and gas supply in this country. He’s now got the Premiers and the Chief Ministers in the one room. That doesn’t happen all the time – the next COAG meeting isn’t for another couple of months. He should use this afternoon to sit down with Australia’s Premiers and Chief Ministers and work on a solution to this crisis.
Six months ago Malcolm Turnbull promised to cut gas prices in Australia by half. That was six months ago and it still hasn’t happened. Gas prices are still high. There’s stories again in the press today that indicate that for all of the attention the Prime Minister has focused on this and the arrangement with big gas companies, gas prices are expected to still remain very high. The head of the Australian Industry Group Innes Willox also said this morning that the companies he represents – big Australian manufacturers – are still being offered contracts with very high gas prices, $16, $17 and $18 a gigajoule.
In addition to that you’ve got members of Turnbull’s own team, Andrew Broad saying that nothing the Government has done is going to bring down gas prices. Already we’ve had Coogee Chemicals offshore their Melbourne manufacturing plant. We’ve seen the loss of 100 jobs at Rio Tinto’s Boyne smelter and Incitec Pivot have decided to build a plant in the United States instead of Australia. If gas prices don’t come down, if gas prices remain high we’re going to see more businesses go offshore, more businesses fail to invest, more businesses shut down and more Australians lose their job.
Malcolm Turnbull said only on the weekend that this was all about making sure prices don’t go up higher. Well he’s being mischievous here. Here’s either out of touch or being very tricky. Because he told the Australian people that gas prices would come down. That they would be cut in half. And no attempt at some sort of Jedi mind trick or Men in Black neuralyzer is going to make the Australian people forget that promise. He promised to cut gas prices in half. He’s got an assurance from gas companies – he gave an assurance to the Australian people that he would cut gas prices in half. Instead of knocking off for lunch in Canberra today Turnbull should be working with the Premiers and the Chief Ministers of this country to fix this problem. He’s chosen not to do so, and that shows just how out of touch Turnbull is.
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