The Federal Government and Australia’s major gas producers are thrashing out a plan to prevent a shortage next year.

The companies say they can produce more gas, but only if Australians pay a fair price, because they get a better deal overseas.

Emma Crichton reports.


The Prime Minister has been warned warned of a gas shortage three times larger than previously forecast.

So he called a meeting with Santos, Shell and Origin Energy to discuss it.

The companies have been sending gas overseas for better prices, and Malcolm Turnbull has threatened to limit those exports.

Critics say that’s not the answer.

Richard Di Natale, Greens Leader: “Having Malcolm Turnbull come in and wave his finger at the gas chiefs as he has, did before, with the energy chiefs heads, that’s not an energy plan.”

The Prime Minister believes state governments are failing to develop their gas resources properly, and that’s adding to the shortfall, and rising electricity prices.

He’s already met with electricity chiefs.

The gas industry says it can supply enough locally, but consumers must be willing to pay a fair price.

Ian MacFarlane, Qld Resources Council: “The gas companies are committed to supplying the domestic market, they will do that providing there is a clear line as to how the gas is to be supplied and when it’s going to be taken.”

Michael Sukkar, Minister Assisting the Treasurer: “The onus will be on them ultimately to demonstrate to us that they can do it.”

If Mr. Turnbull decides to pull the trigger on gas export restrictions, these would not come into effect until January 2018.

Emma Crichton, QUT News.