Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10050


Mr CLARE (Blaxland) (14:48): My question is again to the Prime Minister. Yesterday the Attorney-General claimed the government had already triggered gas export controls, saying in the Senate, 'We have restricted gas exports.' Isn't it actually the case that the government has failed to pull the trigger to restrict gas exports because there are serious legal doubts about the ministerial actions of Senator Canavan and the Deputy Prime Minister? Why is the Prime Minister allowing his deputy and Senator Canavan to stand in the way of lower power prices for all Australians?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:49): I thank the honourable member for his question because it gives me the opportunity to clear up what I think is a misunderstanding on his part. The restrictions on gas exports, whenever the minister makes a determination, do not come into effect until 1 January. So the restrictions do not come into effect when the minister makes the determination. The determination has to, obviously, be made before 1 January, but it has to be made after a very careful consideration of all of the facts concerning the supply of gas.

The fact, however, is that by foreshadowing these export controls we have already seen a considerable amount of additional gas coming into the market, and we have seen, as a consequence, the short-term prices of gas easing across the east coast. For example, the average July price was $6.80 per gigajoule in Brisbane—these are the spot prices—and the July average across the whole east coast was $8.61 per gigajoule, compared with just under $12 in July last year. They went up above that in the interim. August prices have already fallen by a dollar a gigajoule in the east coast market.

Mr Frydenberg: It's $10 per megawatt hour!

Mr TURNBULL: The energy minister just made a very valid point: $1 per gigajoule is $10 per megawatt hour, so it is a very significant impact on electricity prices.

We have seen additional provision of gas. An announcement was made on 7 September, just a few days ago, that Santos and the GLNG consortium will supply 30 petajoules of gas to the east coast in 2018-19. The following day, Santos and Origin signed a new agreement to continue the supply of ethane gas to Qenos of up to 27 petajoules between now and the end of 2019. So there is lot of additional material coming in. All of that has to be assessed and considered. When the minister has considered all of that material and appropriately consulted, then he can make the determination in accordance with the mechanism.