Australian Workers Union official Paul Howes criticised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott over recent comments that miners and CSG producers should not be allowed on farmers’ land without permission.
Australian Workers Union official Paul Howes criticised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott over recent comments that miners and CSG producers should not be allowed on farmers’ land without permission. Chris Ison

Call for gas to be reserved, not exported

UNION official Paul Howes has made a wide-ranging attack on all political parties' failure to back a national gas reservation policy.

Despite being at odds with all major parties, the Australian Workers Union heavy has called for some of the nation's coal seam gas to be reserved, rather than exported.

He told the Energy Networks Association he thought such a policy would be a "pretty significant reform".

Mr Howes said the experience of the United States shale gas boom had shown how Australia could lower domestic gas prices by putting some of the resource aside.

He criticised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott over recent comments that miners and CSG producers should not be allowed on farmers' land without permission.

But he also hit out at the Gillard Government, saying the government needed to take a "real leadership position" on the issue.

His comments put him offside with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as she has repeatedly ruled out reserving gas which could instead be exported for use overseas.

"That's why we need the Federal Government to introduce a domestic gas reservation policy," Mr Howes said.

"Today, Australia is the only nation on the planet to allow unfettered access to gas markets.

"No other country simply allows energy companies to export gas as LNG without appropriate controls in place to secure domestic gas supply."

Mr Howes said instead of sending more manufacturing jobs overseas, reserving gas would make it cheaper for the sector, in turn employing more people in the sector.


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