Australia has been “on the sidelines” when it comes to securing future energy supplies, including the controversial Narrabri gas exploration project backed by Mr Harding. “When it comes to Narrabri, we need to let go,” he said. “We need approval to open the field within the next three years.”
Harding said Australia realized it had a huge opportunity to switch to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar over the next few years. “We need to move away from coal … but gas will provide a really good bridge and make sure we don’t lose all of our manufacturing overseas,” he said.
“What we don’t want to do is lose all our offshore manufacturing jobs just as we’re trying to bring them back to shore because our domestic gas prices are too high.”
Both NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King see the Narrabri gas project as key to the security of future energy production.but Their plan was opposed by farmerslandowners, aborigines, and well-organized lock-door organizations.
If left unchecked, electricity prices will rise by more than 50 percent and gas prices by more than 40 percent in the next two years, according to the federal finance ministry. Electricity and gas prices rose on the eastern seaboard as the war in Ukraine deepened a global energy crunch, prompting countries to ditch Russian coal and gas. This intensifies fierce competition for Australian exports.
The Business NSW report found most businesses are seeking help from energy companies and networks to improve sustainability and reduce costs, despite being rated as the worst advice. Only 15% of businesses seek help from energy consultants and peak agencies, which they rate as the top source of advice.
“The federal government needs to combine last week’s bill relief with proposals to help businesses navigate the complex web of energy markets,” Harding said.
Federal Parliament passed government legislation on Thursday to temporarily cap uncontracted wholesale gas prices at $12 a gigajoule and $125 a tonne of coal to reduce soaring electricity bills.
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