Making Australia more reliant on gas will further damage our climate and won’t help create jobs, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan to fast-track gas projects.

“To switch from coal reliant to gas dependent would see Australia jump from the frying pan straight into the fire,” said ACF’s Climate Change Program Manager, Gavan McFadzean.

“Gas is a fossil fuel made up mainly of methane, a potent greenhouse gas – it has no place in Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.

“If fully unleashed, Australia’s gas resources could be responsible for up to three times the annual climate emissions of the entire world.

“The PM’s plans to fund a new gas-fired power station in the Hunter Valley, underwrite new gas projects and exploit five massive new gasfields would be a disaster for climate change and would not help Australia recover from the coronavirus downturn.

“Recent research shows the gas industry provides few jobs, pays little tax and would lock in decades of high emissions and high energy prices.

“The political devotion to the gas industry is not surprising when you see how much money the gas and oil sector donates to Australian political parties every year.

“Some business groups have warned the Morrison Government not to contaminate the market with public investment.

“In 2020 the gas sector has been writing off billions of dollars in assets. This plan backs the wrong horse, leaving the taxpayer with the risk of costly stranded gas assets as the energy market embraces cheaper renewable energy.

“The truth is Australia does not need more gas. Renewable energy has a 25% share of the main electricity grid. New wind and solar projects, backed by batteries, are best placed to provide reliable power, tackle climate change and create long term jobs.

“A new report released today shows Gladstone is well positioned to become a world-leading precinct for heavy industries powered by renewable energy.

“We urge members of the Government who care about Australia’s future to speak up and extinguish this crazy gas-fired fantasy.”

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Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@mail.acf.org.au