The extraordinary growth of the natural gas industry in Australia, and especially Queensland, is set to go down in history as the largest concentration of private capital in Australia’s history, according to Queensland Resources Council’s Michael Roche.
Mr Roche spoke at the Queensland Gas Conference yesterday, and also said the $70 billion investment in the gas industry was historic as it represented, in today’s dollars, the equivalent of three Snowy Mountains Schemes – the largest engineering project in Australian history.
If everything went to plan, Australia was on track to become the world’s leading exporter of natural gas by 2020 with Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory leading the pack, he said.
He challenged politicians to stand up for the oil and gas industry and explain how it provided five per cent of Queensland’s jobs, contributed $22.1 billion into the economy and seven percent of the state’s regional product.
“Despite being the lynchpin of the Queensland economy and one of the state’s biggest employers – resources development is under constant attack from green activists,” Mr Roche said.
“It’s time that we as an industry face the public perception challenges before us because the risk is much greater than reputation – the risk is poor policy.”
Mr Roche said if green activists – and the likes of Senator Glenn Lazarus and his inquiry into the Australian gas industry – succeeded in turning land access laws on their head, it would be “a sure recipe for driving resource investment from our state, and from the nation”.
He said Australia had some of the best environmental regulation in the world and the International Energy Agency had recently acknowledged Queensland’s world-class regulation of the onshore gas industry.