One Nation has revealed it would block the opening up of new gas reserves in Queensland, a plan slammed by both major parties in the state.
Senator Pauline Hanson on Wednesday called on the federal government to make use of 31 retention licenses issued for WA’s offshore gas fields she claims are not being utilised.
“To say Australia needs more onshore gas wells is complete rubbish,” she said in a statement.
She says the gas could be shipped to the east coast, removing the need for new projects in Queensland, where One Nation has announced it will seek to shut down any expansion of the coal seam gas industry, citing environmental concerns.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham hit out at the proposal, saying the region had been producing gas for 50 years and stopping it would increase electricity prices and result in up to 7000 jobs lost.
“Queensland has the strongest environmental regulation in the world when it comes to CSG,” Dr Lynham told AAP.
“The effect of coal seam gas on Queensland is heavily monitored, and the impacts are much less than what was predicted when the coal seam gas industry was first established in this state.”
Acting Premier Curtis Pitt again challenged the Liberal Nation Party opposition to say whether they would do a deal with One Nation at the upcoming state election.
Shadow treasurer Scott Emerson did not say whether his party would do a deal with the minor party but rejected their gas plan, agreeing with the government that it would cost jobs.
One Nation’s proposal came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with gas companies Santos, Shell and Origin Energy on Wednesday, confirming they had agreed to offer domestic customers any uncontracted gas in the future as a priority.
Mr Turnbull told reporters the commonwealth could still restrict exports, but that would be their last resort in the case of an imminent shortage.
“As far as the views of other parties are concerned, our position is very clear – we need more gas in Australia,” Mr Turnbull said in Canberra.
One Nation is polling at 15 per cent across the state and experts tip them to pick up a handful of seats at the state election, possibly giving them the balance of power.
Labor has promised not to do any deals with the minor party, while the LNP has ruled out forming a coalition with them but could accept their vote to form a minority government.