MediaRelease: Industry, unions and farmers pawns; as gas miners seek to cash in at their expense

Gas mining

19 June 2013, Melbourne - "Dirty gas miners are using Australian Industry as pawns to spruik the benefits of their destructive product as they try to maximise profits through the export of as much of Australia's finite gas reserves as possible. This rush to export Aussie gas will drive up gas prices further, hurting struggling farmers and manufacturers who are actually being recuited to promote it" said Matthew Wright Executive Director of climate and energy solutions think-tank Zero Emissions.

"Since 2010 APPEA (Australian Petroleum Production Exploration Association) has been running around Queensland, using organisations like Agforce, trying desperately to pull the wool over farmers' eyes by attempting to brightside the damage that coal seam gas does to waterways, farms, the environment and the economy", said Wright

"Now it's not just farmers who are being tricked into doing the dirty work to maximise profits for big gas."

"Big gas are now recruiting Australian Industry to do their dirty work as well even though it is against their interests.  Organisations such as the AIG (Australian Industry Group) and EUAA (Energy Users Association of Australia) are putting out scare campaigns on behalf of a minority of members who have not only a foot in both camps but a much bigger foot in the shale and coal seam gas export camp" said Wright.

"Following on from a scare campaign initiated by APPEA last week, the EUAA has come out swinging calling for an Emergency Crisis meeting with State Premiers and Energy Ministers."

"APPEA has comprehensively sucked in the EUAA", said Wright

"The contentions of APPEA about jobs are misleading, about the economy are misleading and about the environmental effects of this damaging industry are misleading.  The sole aim of APPEA's members is to export as much gas as possible and to maximise prices for their gas which maximises profits for shareholders."

"Gas companies want to draw lines on maps, through farms and national parks and calculate the value of reserves based on the maximum price they can get and that does not include selling at a discount to local energy intensive industries", said Wright.

The opportunity now exists for Agforce amongst other farm lobby organisations along with peak industry bodies such as the Australian Industry Group, Energy Users Association of Australia and the Australian Workers Union to get behind renewable energy, which is a natural hedge against the insecurity of linking our domestic reserves with price volatile international markets.

"Electrification went really well for farmers in the forties, fifties and sixties reducing fuel bills and modernising farming operations.  It's now time for Australian Industry to go further with electrification, moving to heat pumps, direct solar heating, electric arc furnaces, hot briquetted Iron, direct reduced iron and where there isn't an electric alternative such as in chemical processes, biogas from waste and crop residuals.  Farmers and Industry should be working together to secure each other’s future."

"Electrification with renewable energy such as wind and solar power will safeguard all Australian sectors against the volatility of international gas and oil markets.  It's the only way we can plan for the future."