Greater focus on domestic gas prices, gas reservation – Husic

Industry minister Ed Husic has signalled that the government is focusing on the negative effects of high gas prices on Australian manufacturing’s competitive advantage.

Interviewed by Ross Greenwood on Sky News Business Weekend, Husic said he was concerned at a lack of competition and a ‘reduced ability to have competitive pricing’ for energy.

He said his colleagues Energy Minister Chris Bowen, and the Treasurer Jim Chalmers, were ‘very mindful of that. There are some great conditions right now for gas companies’.

“I get that the global demand for their product is high.

“But I’ve said publicly, I’m very agitated about some of the pricing that’s been…levelled towards Australian industry, and particularly manufacturers who need access to affordable (gas).”

Greenwood said that it was ‘dumb’ that Australia had some of the biggest gas reserves in the world and yet it was not reserved for Australians and Australian industry to make jobs easier and more available here.

Husic said: “And I think there will be a greater focus on that type of mechanism.

“I think we’ve already flagged…we’re reviewing the trigger that’s used, the way that it’s operated.

“It’s a complicated issue because the way it’s set up at the moment is around supply…and it’s not an extraction issue. It’s about pricing.

“And we do need to get a fairer deal, a better deal for local industry.”

Husic said he understood that gas companies want to do well when the sun is shining.

“But they cannot go off in a blaze of glory and leave a smouldering wreck.

“They need to be very conscious that their pricing decisions have a broader economic impact, and particularly from an industry perspective.

“And I’m not going to apologise for standing up for Australian manufacturers who I think are getting a rough deal right now.”

Greenwood also asked about instant asset write-off rules which expire on June 30, 2023.

Greenwood said: “So next year, under a constrained spending environment that the government’s going to have, will that continue for business?”

Husic said: “When we were last in government, we had that type of policy framework in place.

“The Treasurer…he’s going to make a decision on in the budget, so watch this space.”

Picture: Ed Husic

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