For anyone that has been living under a rock with no utility bills for eight years, today’s gas cartel drivel might make some sense:
- The Morrison Government must not engage in gas market central planning, said pipeline monopolist, APA.
- We need transparency for prices from consumers, said the oil and gas lobby. Only 3% of manufacturers use gas anyway.
- We need a spot gas hub, said bulk consumers.
All of this is pure ideological claptrap. The Australian gas market is already centrally planned. Only by the gas cartel instead of by the people of Australia.
The cartel keeps prices sky-high locally by shipping all of the cheap gas offshore via LNG plants in QLD. The same cartel has leased all of the reserves. So, all the lobby is really demanding is that it own the rights to the central planning not that it doesn’t transpire.
That is, there is no market. It died around 2014. Any contention to the contrary is pure fiction.
As such, the question before Australians is whether or not they should let the private cartel maximise its profits at their expense via high utility prices. Or, that the gas market be nationalised in one form or another (domestic reservation being the easiest form) so that the owners of the gas, that is, you, can benefit from the economic endowment it represents.
At least in theory that is the question. Because the cartel owns the Morrison Government lock, stock and barrel, the question will never be asked in practice. Except by the ACCC, which the Morrison Government ignores completely.
I suspect the various energy officials in the Morrison Government will get even worse over the next year as they position for post-politics sinecures with the cartel.
Sadly, Labor is not much better these days. In opposition anyway. Ignoring the gas cartel may be a part of its small target strategy to win power, or not.
At least electing it offers the chance of change.