Nation's gas crisis long time coming: 'It wasn't rocket science'

WITH the nation on the brink of a gas shortage crisis, former Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane had one thing to say.

"I said it in parliament speeches and at industry lunches and dinners - and sure enough in 2017 it happens," he said.

"It wasn't rocket science."

After Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Monday that Australia would face a gas shortfall of 110 petajoules over the next two years, three time worse than had been forecast, the Queensland Resources Council chief executive said that he predicted it eight years ago.

Mr Macfarlane believes he
Mr Macfarlane believes he "did enough" at the time to try and stop a crisis. GLENN HUNT

While still a member of parliament in 2009, Mr Macfarlane said he raised concerns about an energy dilemma in the years to come, laying blame on decisions made by the New South Wales government at the time.

"By the time we got to 2010 these (gas) companies already started construction on gas plants (in Queensland) and New South Wales walked away from developing its own industry," he recalled.

"New South Wales produces five per cent of our gas and that is not tenable in the long-term."

His comments come after the prime minister's last-ditch meeting with the heads of major gas companies in Sydney yesterday, where an agreement to supply the domestic market without government interference was reached.

"I was saying it in parliament that it was a major concern and when we got back into government we had to attempt to get New South Wales to develop its gas supplies.

"This has been a long time coming and there is no doubt the industry needs to supply its domestic market.

"I don't reflect on seeing this happen with any satisfaction.

"Hindsight is a great thing but we did enough at the time."

Mr Macfarlane believes that yesterday's deal between the government and the major gas companies will solve the issue for only one year and hopes to see a long-term solution reached sooner rather than later.

"It was a solution for the next 12 months," he said.

"What we need to do is get a long-term solution because Queensland is doing its bit releasing acreage for consumption."


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