News, media releases

Gas contract uncertainty grows as Minister does nothing

  • Major employers increasingly nervous over gas contracts                 
  • Government must provide a proper update
  • Does the Minister want the dispute to go to arbitration?                

Energy Minister Guy Barnett must guarantee Tasmania’s major industrials that critical gas contracts will be in place by the end of the year.

Shadow Energy Minister Scott Bacon said a deal is well overdue.

“The Government’s own Energy Security Taskforce said a deal should have been struck by the end of March this year,” Mr Bacon said.

“The Government’s inability to guarantee a deal has created enormous uncertainty for Tasmania’s biggest gas users, including Bell Bay Aluminium and Grange Resources.”

Grange Resources’ General Manager Ben Maynard told the ABC that the uncertainty around gas contracts has consequences for the business.

“Because we do need to lock into long-term contract for our gas and with that uncertainty we don’t know what the price will be going forward, and that’s made it difficult for us to make a commitment,” (Ben Maynard, ABC News, 12/10/2017)

“This is an employer of 600 people telling the Hodgman Government that the uncertainty can’t go on any longer,” Mr Bacon said.

“We’ve heard virtually nothing from Guy Barnett since he became Energy Minister.

“How is he going to resolve this standoff between Hydro and the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline?

“The Government started the negotiations with no intention of renewing the contract because it planned to sell the Tamar Valley Power Station.

“This would have had devastating consequences for gas users right across Tasmania and could have crippled our biggest employers.

“It took an energy crisis to save the Liberals from making a decision that would have hurt Tasmania badly.

“The Government is playing a dangerous game by letting the contract uncertainty drag on.

“Does Guy Barnett want the process to go to arbitration and what will that cost taxpayers?”