Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured the Varley Group engineering and manufacturing company in Tomago. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Joel Black
Prime Minister Scott Morrison toured the Varley Group engineering and manufacturing company in Tomago. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Joel Black

$28m to unlock gas fields in North Bowen, Galilee: PM

CENTRAL and North Queensland scored a mention in the Morrison Government's "gas-led recovery" plan yesterday, but not everyone is satisfied with what has been promised.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed a blueprint to open up more gas fields across the country and create an Australian Gas Hub - to be based in western Queensland - which will link up the nation's LNG supplies through the state.

Mr Morrison said boosting the gas supply would drop prices, put downward pressure on whole electricity prices, help shore up renewable energy and support manufacturing in Australia.

There will be $28 million provided for developing "strategic blueprints" to further open up five gas fields across the country, including the North Bowen, Galilee and Cooper basins in Queensland.

The government will also investigate turning the Wallumbilla gas field into the Australian Gas Hub - essentially a central hub linking gas fields and export ports across the country through pipelines, bringing down the cost of production.

More stories:

'Absolutely gutted': Reality of being unemployed in Mackay

Mackay region's 'decent' jobs momentum put on hold

Why mining will heal Mackay quickly after COVID-19

But the Queensland Government has demanded a fairer share of gas, manufacturing industries and jobs already directed to New South Wales.

"The Federal Government gave NSW a billion dollars to open up their gas fields and have ignored our calls to invest in gas and electricity infrastructure," Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said.

"And yet Queensland has been doing the heavy lifting on gas supply and policy for the past five years.

"It's about time the LNP responded to our calls, but where's Queensland's billion dollars?"

The State Government has committed to tip in $5 million for a feasibility study into a Bowen Basin gas pipeline and was seeking matched funding from the Federal Government.

Natural Resources Ministser Anthony Lynham speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Natural Resources Ministser Anthony Lynham speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the five strategic basin plans would unlock additional supply to the market to drive down prices.

"The Government wants to do a state deal with all states but NSW set a new gas exploration target (and) have agreed to maximise the emissions abatement delivered by investments in order to meet Australia's commitments under the Paris Agreement, and agreement on securing coal resources," he said.

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed the Morrison Government's plan to develop more Queensland gas for market to reboot the economy.

Subscriber benefits:

Your daily dose of Harry Bruce cartoons

Five ways to get more from your digital subscription

WATCH: Your guide to reading the Daily Mercury online

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the council's Resources Industry Recovery Agenda, published in June, identified more gas pipeline infrastructure as a key response to COVID-19 recovery.

"Queensland desperately needs the 372,000 jobs supported by the resources sector more than ever," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Our plan is to not only keep those jobs but to create new ones, so it's fitting this commitment on gas - including funding to unlock the North Bowen and Galilee basins - comes under the Government's JobMaker program."