According to APPEA, the recent ALP national conference has shown some unions to be campaigning for Labor to adopt protectionist policies that would put at risk investment and jobs in Australia’s liquefied natural gas industry.

APPEA has said, “The timing of this push could hardly be worse, with global prices depressed and Australian projects making painful adjustments to stay competitive. Led by the Australian Workers Union, the unions have argued for a national domestic gas reservation policy.

“Such a policy is unnecessary as Australia has ample gas reserves to supply local and overseas customers. It would discourage investment and create regulatory uncertainty.

“Fortunately, the conference appears to have rejected the reservation push. Labor has sensibly recognised the value of LNG exports to our economy and the contribution gas makes to a cleaner energy future.

“But the conference also has adopted a compromise motion supporting a so-called “national interest test”.

“Such a test creates potential risks for industry. “Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a world-class gas industry. More than $200 billion worth of new export projects are under way, despite intense competition from more than 20 other countries.

“The recent collapse in the international oil price is putting all gas development in Australia under pressure.

“Policies that undermine our global competitiveness and our ability to attract investment compound this pressure.

“Put simply, Australia cannot afford to increase sovereign risk and project costs if it wishes to convert its gas reserves into jobs, royalties and exports.

“Australia’s LNG industry is a source of comparative advantage that should be harnessed, not hindered. Just as Australia’s long-term national interest is served by maintaining access to open and competitive markets for coal, wheat and iron ore, the same is true for natural gas.

Read more at APPEA.

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