Wednesday 22nd Nov, 2017

New mechanism to secure local gas

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Before federal senator for Queensland Matthew Canavan made headlines this week by stepping down from his role as minister for resources and Northern Australia amid a possible dual citizenship issue, he announced the Government’s proposed mechanism to crack down on gas exporters and secure an affordable supply for local buyers.

Canavan announced on Tuesday evening he would step down from his Cabinet role while he sorted out a potential dual-citizenship issue.

His last act as resources minister, however, could have serious implications for the nation’s gas producers, exporters, and consumers. On July 24, he launched consultations on the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM) being proposed by the Turnbull Government.

The new mechanism – introduced on July 1 – allows the Government to intervene, if necessary, “to ensure there is a sufficient supply of natural gas to meet the forecast needs of Australian consumers”.

Canavan said on Monday he would consult with the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and major gas producers and users, under the first step of the ADGSM program.

“The Australian Government is focused on ensuring domestic gas users have access to a sufficient supply of gas at a reasonable price,” Canavan said.

“The ADGSM is a mechanism of last resort to be applied in accordance with our international trade obligations and will only be used if there will not be a sufficient supply of gas for Australian consumers.

“The mechanism will balance domestic gas market considerations with the operational and planning requirements of a globally integrated and highly competitive export industry.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accepted that Canavan had “stepped aside” from his ministerial role while he sorted out his citizenship status, appointing Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce to act in Canavan’s capacity in the meantime.

Canavan said on Tuesday his mother may have signed him up as an Italian citizen without his knowledge, but Joyce said on Wednesday morning he doubted the issue would result in Canavan’s full resignation.

The news follows the recent resignations of two Greens senators over citizenship revelations.