The Federal Government’s National Gas Infrastructure Plan (NGIP) aims to expand the use of gas in Australia as part of the Gas Fired Recovery Plan developed last year with extensive input from gas industry heavyweights. More sustainable ideas for a COVID economic recovery were ignored while the Federal Government shifted its fossil fuel obsession from coal to gas.
At a time when the science and common sense indicate rapid phasing out of fossil fuels is needed, our government acts as if urgency is unnecessary in dealing with the situation which has seen our nation suffer devastating bushfires, increasingly lengthy droughts and frequent extreme weather events like the recent flooding rains.
The NGIP will lock in for decades the use of a fossil fuel that ensures emissions continue to rise rapidly in this country, adding to all the problems that we currently have from the impacts of climate change.
The claim that gas is a less carbon-polluting transitional fuel in the move towards a carbon free world is nonsense. Gas is a fossil fuel that produces emissions - in its production and use as a fuel - that are as polluting as those from coal.
Another claim that increased gas production is needed because we will soon face a domestic gas shortage is another furphy. A new forecast from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) states there will be no gas shortfall in the coming years.
What makes this plan even worse is that public funds will be used to prop up an industry which is under economic threat because its time is up. This is wasting taxpayer funds on what will inevitably become stranded assets - scarcely sound Government economic management.
If the Government was serious about both economic recovery after COVID and driving down our carbon emissions, it would be ramping up clean energy solutions in the renewable sector.
The NGIP is a gigantic con. It should be scrapped immediately. The Australian people and future generations of Australians deserve a much better policy from their Federal Government.
- Leonie Blain
Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent , April 7, 2021.