Gas companies may be forced to cut prices to ease the burden on Australian manufacturers, Federal Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic told the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) convention.
His speech, which was subsequently reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Age, warned manufacturers are struggling under soaring energy costs.
“We cannot have a situation – and we’ve already seen some of this emerge – where our international competitors are getting access through long-term contracts to gas prices that are lower than what will be offered to Australian business for an Australian resource,” Husic said.
Husic said the govt could look to amend the Australian Domestic Gas Supply Mechanism and reform the gas producers’ code of conduct unless prices dropped, saying a lot of manufacturers saw the deal as one sided and disadvantaged Australian manufacturers. He said bans on Russian exports have seen the wholesale price of gas jump to $20 a gigajoule – up from $4 before LNG exports began in 2015.
The son of a metalworker who grew up in Sydney's west, Husic said it was “personally pleasing” to speak at the ASI convention.
“We very much value and respect the relationship we have with the Institute. We've built that up over many years and I know a lot of people across our government have had dealings with the Institute as well and we also have a lot of very firm advocates for the industry within this new government.”
Husic (centre) is pictured with ASI Chief Executive Mark Cain (left) and ASI chair Tony Schreiber.