Former opposition leader Bill Shorten has supported new gas investments as a way to help “double down” on manufacturing in the post-pandemic economic recovery.
Speaking to the ABC’s Insiders, Shorten was asked about subsidies for gas infrastructure, and replied that gas would remain important in the transition to greater levels of renewable energy.
“I was formerly a union rep, I used to look after workers in manufacturing,” he said.
“You can’t have a manufacturing sector, from Qenos in Botany and Altona through to foundries, through to the four smelters in aluminium, the steel industry, unless we have low-price energy. I think gas does tick some of those boxes.
The Sydney Morning Herald notes that the comments highlight divisions within the federal opposition. Resources spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon last week endorsed federal backing for new pipelines — following mention of support by National COVID Commission chief Nev Power at a Senate committee — though was contradicted by opposition leader Anthony Albanese and energy minister Mark Butler.
A report from the manufacturing taskforce of the COVID commission is with the federal government and awaiting release. It is expected to recommend boosting gas supply to stimulate manufacturing output and jobs, including through “cutting red and green tape” and incentives for new infrastructure.
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