Opinion Piece – Victoria’s gas and energy shortage becomes a Queensland problem.

25 June 2024

The extent of Australia’s escalating energy crisis is clearly on display in Victoria with the state at risk of running out of gas by the end of this winter – and should serve as not only a stark warning for the rest of the nation but also a wake-up call for Queensland who is on the same costly renewable trajectory.

The emergency in Victoria, has been triggered by supply disruptions and an unusually cold winter, this has exposed the vulnerabilities in our current energy market and lack of any state or national gas reserve policy. This crisis highlights the exploitation of our natural resources, focused on over-exporting to the highest bidder rather than retaining sufficient volumes for domestic supplies.

Victoria’s energy policy, or lack thereof, has created an energy black hole that has left electrical providers hungry for power, at any price. And Queenslanders are ultimately the ones paying the price. During peak load times, other states’ energy providers are paying whatever it costs to maintain supply and because we have a National Energy Market (NEM), that price must be matched by Queensland energy customers if we want a share of the electricity generated in our sunshine state.

Queenslanders are paying ridiculous prices for electricity because so much of it is being exported to other states through the NEM. Consequently, we all suffer because of other states’ mistakes. The solution is simple, but seemingly an impossible task for the Labor and Liberal free marketeers. Implementing a functioning national gas reserve policy would ensure our domestic market has first dibs on cheap Australian gas, and putting a limit on how much electricity Queensland electrical generators can export interstate could bring down wholesale energy prices. But that’s not how the NEM is set up which only works to drive profits, especially when you have failing energy policy across the entire nation.

It doesn’t matter how many solar and wind projects you build, there will always be a need for dispatchable base load power to handle peak load. Until we take drastic steps to secure our own domestic energy supplies, we won’t see household energy prices come down, no matter how many times our political leaders promise they will.

Deputy Leader of the Katter’s Australian Party and State Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto.

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Nick Dametto MP