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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3097


Mr KELVIN THOMSON (Wills) (13:49): I want to bring to the attention of the parliament reports that the chemical manufacturer Dow Chemical has urged both federal and state governments to use some of Australia's massive gas resources to provide cheap energy for Australian manufacturers. Dow Chemical is a significant employer in Victoria, where its Altona processing centre employs several hundred workers. There are of course precedents for reserving local energy needs. The state of Western Australia has for years required gas exporters to set aside 15 per cent of their production for the state's domestic use. In the United States, oil drilled in the Gulf of Mexico cannot be exported and must be kept for use in the United States.

Dow Chemical's vice-president, George Blitz, is reported by the Australian as saying that Australia's gas reserves should be used not only to generate export income but also to help build domestic industry. Mr Blitz was also reported by David Crowe as saying that new rules to reserve gas production within Australia could speed up the construction of gas fired power stations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared with coal fired electricity. This is a serious contribution to the debate by Dow Chemical, and I hope that governments at all levels take it seriously. Manufacturing in Victoria is doing it tough as a consequence of the high dollar caused by the mining boom, and securing access to some of Australia's energy resources in this way would help retain and create jobs in Victoria.