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$28.7 million investment in East Coast gas security

9 May 2017

  • Australian Government to invest $28.7 million in new East Coast gas development program
  • The program will accelerate gas development to underpin affordable and reliable supply
  • $15.3 million for Digital Earth Australia program to enable new insights from satellite imagery that will drive growth in agriculture and evidence-based decisions for the environment.

The Coalition Government will invest in a new program to accelerate the development of gas resources, aimed at ensuring affordable and reliable energy for Australian users.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan said the $28.7 million East Coast gas development program would target faster development of onshore gas fields to meet Australian demand, while also focussing on a fair return to landholders.

“This program is an investment in the future of manufacturing and the future of Australian jobs,” Minister Canavan said. “It will help secure the domestic gas market against possible supply shortfalls in coming years, and enable large gas intensive consumers to secure supplies on more acceptable commercial terms.

“The program will expand the approach taken by the South Australian Plan for Accelerating Exploration initiative to other States and the Northern Territory.

“It builds on the strong action the Coalition Government has taken already to ensure Australians have access to more gas at an affordable price. This includes the Gas Supply Strategy and the successful implementation of the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) research model in Queensland and NSW.

“This new program will support projects that provide gas to domestic users and activities that accelerate gas supply from significant resources.

“Funding will be subject to the removal of regulatory restrictions, like moratoria on onshore conventional gas developments.

“Victoria has a blanket ban in place and the Northern Territory has a moratorium in place that are preventing any onshore gas development, despite preliminary assessments that both regions have substantial gas reserves.

“The Australian Government will work co-operatively to encourage exploration and identify new gas supplies, but we expect the States and Territories to show the same commitment to Australia’s domestic gas supply.”

Minister Canavan said the initiative would be complemented by appropriate community and landowner acceptance provisions, the development of transparent land access arrangements and an appropriate communication and education package for landowners, communities and industry.

“Our natural resources belong to all Australians, but it’s only fair that the landholders who allow access to these resources on their land receive a fair return,” Minister Canavan said.

The measures outlined in this Budget will set in place a strong foundation to build Australia’s energy system of the future, and help the Government tackle cost of living pressures.

The 2017-18 Budget also includes $15.3 million in funding to measure and detect changes across the Australian landscape over time.

“Digital Earth Australia will transform almost three decades of existing satellite imagery of the Australian continent and coastline and make it freely available,” Minister Canavan said.

“When fully operating, Digital Earth Australia will provide new information for every 10 metre square of Australia, every five days, enabling insights into issues such as water availability, the development of our regions and cities and the productivity of agricultural land.

“Digital Earth Australia is a world first analysis platform for satellite imagery and other Earth observations. It builds on award-winning Australian technology, developed by Geoscience Australia with CSIRO and the National Computational Infrastructure.

"This technology has already demonstrated the potential benefits through the Water Observations from Space (WOfS) product, which provides a near three decade history of where and how often water has been observed across Australia, at 25 metre resolution.

“It will provide comprehensive, timely and accurate information about regional and remote Australia, providing users with open data to test ideas and develop new capabilities to increase efficiency, bolster profits and create jobs.

“For example, Digital Earth Australia could facilitate improved decisions about cropping, pasture management and livestock based on evidence about the impact of past decisions.

“The Australian and State and Territory Governments will be able to use Digital Earth Australia as an evidence base to improve the design, implementation, and evaluation of policies and programs.”

Media contacts: Senator Canavan's office 02 6277 7180